Professional success comes early for Olivet junior Mattie Sills

This engineering major with an interest in pharmaceutical science is prepping for life after Olivet.

June 6, 2018 Uncategorized

“Pharmaceutical science is the only type of science that contains everything I like,” says Mattie Sills, an Olivet Nazarene University engineering major (chemical engineering concentration) in the Walker School of Engineering. “It’s taking molecules and knowing how to put them together in a way that would be beneficial to the body.”  

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During her sophomore year at Olivet, Mattie realized she was good at problem solving. She’s always loved science, specifically chemistry. She is already pursuing her dream, one year prior to completing her undergraduate career.

Part of her dream came true earlier this year at the 40th Annual Carrell-Krusen Neuromuscular Symposium in Dallas, Texas, with 150 doctors attending. During this conference, individuals present the studies they’ve done, findings of their studies and sometimes even bring in live patients. 

She was very surprised when she was given the opportunity to apply and speak single-handedly at the conference in Dallas, presenting the clinical trial she had observed in 2017.

Mattie shadowed Jeffrey Statland, M.D., at the University of Kansas (KU) in summer 2017. Observing a clinical trial about the effect of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) on communication and swallowing, she worked with raw data, drew conclusions and analyzed the findings.

“As I was being called on to speak at the conference, they introduced me as Dr. Sills,” she says. “I thought that was so cool and funny because I’m not a doctor yet.”

After her presentation, doctors came to congratulate her.

Mattie credits Olivet’s Department of Chemistry and Geosciences, as well as her involvement with the Society of Women Engineers at Olivet, for preparing her to do the clinical trial. “At Olivet, professors emphasize being able to self-start and have project-initiation,” she says.

For summer 2018, Mattie is back in the lab in a summer 10-week program at KU, where she will be learning new lab techniques and taking out DNA from cells and changing them.

Upon graduating in 2019, Mattie hopes to work in pharmaceutical science, where she will be able to do research and development, and maybe even find a cure for cancer.

To learn more about Olivet’s Department of Chemistry and Geosciences, contact the Office of Admissions at or 800-648-1463.

Photo submitted by Mattie Sills and used with permission.

Published: 6/6/2018

Student on main campus wearing pink sweater and holding water bottle.

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