Lilly Shatford-Adams poses with her diploma during the afternoon commencement ceremony on May 8, 2022.
Lilly Shatford-Adams poses with her diploma during the afternoon commencement ceremony on May 8, 2022.

We asked faculty from Crete, Lincoln and Omaha to recommend graduating seniors in spring '22 who stood out in their classes. These students — our Featured Tigers — are just a few of the many talented and driven leaders from Doane's undergraduate and graduate programs. View all Featured Tigers here.

Let’s get started: tell us your name, your hometown, your degree program and some of the activities you participated in at Doane.

Lilly Shatford-Adams, she/her/hers

Winter Park, Colorado

Majored in biology with a minor in computer studies

While at Doane, Lilly participated in Doane Forensics, the Student Wellness Action Team, the Health and Medical Occupational Club, Alpha Lambda Delta, Doane’s Digital Imaging and Vision Applications in Science (DIVAS) project, Doane’s International Research Experience for Students (IRES), the Iowa Illinois Nebraska STEM Partnership for Innovation in Research and Education (IINSPIRE) Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), served on the Peer Judicial Board and as a Career Peer Mentor, and worked at the Service Center

First off — congratulations! How do you feel as you head into the next phase of your life?

I am really proud of myself for achieving so much here at Doane in such a short time. I am extremely excited and hopeful for my future! Doane has prepared me well as a scholar, scientist, and overall balanced person.

What’s your next step after graduation?

I will be working at a bioinformatics core at the National Institutes of Health. My work will involve implementing and developing bioinformatics analysis tools to facilitate the collaboration between biology and computer science.

How has attending Doane prepared you for your next steps?

Doane's liberal arts model pushed me outside of my comfort zone and taught me how to be a better learner. With the support of my advisors, I was able to take a variety of courses, from Philosophical Problems to Recent U.S. History to Computer Networking to Cell Biology. I was able to design an interdisciplinary course of study that combined my personal passions of Biology and Computer Science. My professors became my mentors who through these genuine connections, advocated for and pushed me academically and professionally. The Doane culture is very supportive, involved, and passionate.

What do you consider the best part of your Doane experience?

The best part of my Doane experience was being able to connect with my professors. They were always available for office and advising hours. They actively sought to assist any and all students. I had multiple classes with the same professors, so they were able to see me grow academically. This truly helped when I started applying for opportunities outside of Doane. Many of the recruiters cited how positive and thorough my recommendation letters were.

What is something you’re proud of achieving or accomplishing while at Doane?

I was really proud of myself for getting accepted into the University of Georgia’s Fungal Genomics and Computational Biology REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) after my sophomore year. During this time, I conducted research to analyze plant roots. I then presented this research at the 2021 IINSPIRE LSAMP conference and won first place for the research poster competition.

Who was a major influence for you during your education here, and how have they helped you? 

My research advisor and professor, Dr. Erin Doyle, was a major influence for me. I met Dr. Doyle during my phage annotation class and really "met" her when I spent six weeks as a Doane DIVAS (Digital Imaging and Visual Applications in Science) Scholar. During this time, I was introduced to the field of computational biology and bioinformatics, and it just really stuck. I loved programming, I loved thinking about complex problems, and I wanted to stay in the natural sciences. Dr. Doyle is a computational biologist herself, so she is a great person to speak with about my passions and future goals. Her insight into the computational biology field helped guide my degree's direction.

What will you miss the most about being a Doane student? 

I will miss the closeness of the Doane community. Despite not being involved in a sport or sorority, I still felt very included in the social scene at Doane. There was never a day I walked through the Perry building and someone did not say, "Hey Lilly, how are you?"

What advice would you give to incoming students?

I would tell students to come in with an open mind and a willingness to try new things. You might come into college thinking you're very inclined towards one interest and then take a course where you explore an untapped interest. You can try and combine them! You should also try to build your resilience while here - you have four(ish) years to make mistakes. I think the people who grow the most while in college actually have "failed" the most.

Finishing a degree is tough to begin with, but especially so in recent years — what has helped you overcome the challenges of the past three semesters?

Being patient with myself and others has helped me overcome challenges. When I've been able to take a step back and reflect, I realign myself. I'm able to think more clearly about who I am, who I want to be, and how to get there. Extending this grace to others has allowed me to be more understanding and grateful of all the small moments.

Finally — what are you most excited about for your future? 

I am excited to enter and collaborate within the global scientific community! I am also super excited for the travel opportunities!