College of Veterinary Medicine

People in IPN

Graduate Student Spotlight: Megan Slaker


I met Megan for lunch at a local hangout named Billygan’s near the Washington State University campus in Vancouver, Washington.  It is an unassuming place where there are always peanuts in the shell on the table and empty peanut shells lying on the floor, very casual and very comfortable.  As I introduced myself to Megan and she herself to me, I understood why she picked this environment to tell me about herself and her life.  At first glance it’s apparent that she is an easy person to be around but let there be no mistake that she is a focused young lady with the drive of someone who’s had a dream since they were twelve years old of being a scientist.  You see, Megan has always loved science and problem solving.


Maple Grove, MN, just west of Minneapolis, is where Megan grew up.  She has an “unusually close relationship” with her mom and her dad is a “tough love kind of guy”.  Looking at her pictures you can see that Megan and her parents are three peas in a pod. As a child, her interests included soccer and Girl Scouts until she reached her sophomore year in high school and stumbled in to a job at a gymnastics club for kids which she loved.  The summer between her junior and senior year Megan traveled to Germany to visit an exchange student that she and her family hosted for a month during her junior year.  While she was there she attended school, traveled and watched all of the 2006 World Cup soccer games.

After completing her BA in Biology at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato, MN, the same school her parents call their alma mater, Megan came to WSU in Pullman to study Neuroscience under her advisor, Barb Sorg. In 2012 Megan, along with the entire Sorg lab, moved to WSU Vancouver to continue their research on how to prevent relapse to cocaine in rats.  Megan’s research interests are in drug addiction, “specifically, what makes certain individuals prone to addiction and others seemingly immune to it, but all aspects of drug addiction interests me”.  Her interest in addiction began in junior high and high school when she noticed many of her friends starting to use drugs.  However, her decision to pursue research in addiction wasn’t determined until after her junior year in college when she attended a seminar presented by a Neuroscientist on the topic of natural highs.  After that time she says, “I started reading all I could about addiction and haven't been able to stop”. Megan recently completed a presentation for her Bioethics course where she presented the ethical question, “Should drug addicts be considered autonomous individuals, capable of providing their own informed consent?”.

When I asked her if there was anything else she wanted to add to this story she said, “A long term goal for myself is to stay happy and healthy. Life gets stressful and I get busy, but I don't want to let that dampen my spirit or wear on my health”.  A perfect quote from an inspiring young  lady.

Last Edited: Feb 19, 2013 8:54 AM   

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