How many of the scientists
who have shaped our world can you identify? Here’s a few — all Nobel laureates: Harold Varmus. John Mather. Peter Agre. And their schools? Small liberal arts colleges.
Jeremy Schmutz parlayed his undergraduate education at a liberal arts institution—North Central College in Naperville, Illinois—into a key role in the sequencing of the human genome. After majoring in biology and computer science, Schmutz landed on the scientific frontier known as The Human Genome Project at the Stanford Human Genome Center in Palo Alto, California. His work there merged laboratory science, data collection and data analysis as the center sequenced chromosomes 5, 16 and 19.
Schmutz was fortunate to attend a college with easy access to internships and research experiences. A co-op experience at Argonne National Laboratory introduced him to scientists who were developing a new mechanism for sequencing DNA. It would forever alter his life. He learned how the power of computers could be used to understand large quantities of data and how his talents could be critical to ground-breaking research.