Meet Ashley Van Cleave | Briar Cliff University

Meet Ashley Van Cleave

Mapleton, IA
Biochemistry Major, Psychology Minor ('17)

Ashley Van Cleave

“I had never even considered research as a career option until I started working on a research project and realized how much I enjoyed the challenge that research presents,” she said. “Since I had this experience at Briar Cliff, it was an easier transition into my current job.”


— Ashley Van Cleave
Mapleton, IA
Biochemistry Major, Psychology Minor ('17)

Ashley Van Cleave (’17) had already enrolled at another college when she learned about Briar Cliff’s biochemistry program. Intrigued, she decided to give Briar Cliff a chance and visited campus. “Looking back, it was one of the best decisions that I have ever made,” said Ashley, who decided after her visit that Briar Cliff was the place for her.

Now a lab tech for the Tao Lab at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, SD, Ashley’s interest in research was sparked at Briar Cliff where she had the opportunity to participate in research projects with Dr. Paul Weber, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Daniel Jung, assistant professor of biology. “I had never even considered research as a career option until I started working on a research project and realized how much I enjoyed the challenge that research presents,” she said. “Since I had this experience at Briar Cliff, it was an easier transition into my current job.”

While at Briar Cliff, Ashley worked on Dr. Jung and Weber’s collaborative prairie turnip project examining the effects of prairie turnip extracts on IDO expression in macrophages. It was her first experience working independently on a research project, and it remains a fond memory of her time at The Cliff.

Ashley also shared a few words of advice for BCU students interested in pursuing a career in the sciences. “Patience is key. There will be a lot of mistakes and troubleshooting, but nothing will ever beat the thrill of finally succeeding,” she said, “That being said, a negative result is still a result, not a failure. Sometimes experiments do not work out as predicted, but now you know which direction to go.”

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