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James Wright Spurlin III

James Wright Spurlin III

- Graduated Cum Laude with a B.S. in Biology and a B.S. in Chemistry with an ACS certification and emphasis in Biotechnology in May 2009.
- He graduated with a 3.50 GPA, and was received the Outstanding Graduate Award from the Department of Biological Sciences.
- James is currently a graduate student at Rice University in the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

As a senior in high school, I knew exactly what I was going to do; I was going to be a physical therapist.  With that in mind, I knew many years of school were ahead of me, and since I would be paying for most of the school out of pocket, I was definitely looking for the best “bang for my buck”.  Sam Houston is one of the most inexpensive schools in the state and the student to professor ratio allows for a great educational environment.  After getting to know faculty members in both Chemistry and Biology Departments, my perception of possible career opportunities was dramatically expanded.  Soon, I realized I had no idea what career suited me.  The entire faculty at SHSU is great for seeking directional advice, but the most influential person in molding my career was Dr. Todd P. Primm.  As a sophomore searching for inspiration, I approached Dr. Primm with interests in conducting laboratory research.  Within a week, no longer was I just a student in a class; I was learning science as professionals do.  I began presenting data on novel drug screening and bacterial physiology at scientific conferences all over the state.  Under the guidance of Dr. Primm, I acquired regional recognition by achieving awards for the poster presentations of my work.  As I was gaining experience as a paid research assistant in Dr. Primm’s lab, I began teaching instructional labs, such as microbiology, molecular biology and organic chemistry.  These working opportunities not only helped with the financial aspects of school, but they built invaluable skills that latter allowed my for admission to graduate school.  Other sources of financial aid, such as scholarships, were much easier to obtain with these student leadership roles within the department, such as, S.R. Warner Scholarship and Welch Fellowships.

In addition to the lab work, course work and teaching responsibilities, I was able to participate in Tri-Beta Biological Honors Society.  All of these activities were appealing to admission committees for prestigious internships and aided in my acceptance into a top-ranked summer internship program at Baylor College of Medicine.  With the help of professors at Sam Houston, I found my passion for biomedical research and was able to gain admission to the Cell Biology and Biochemistry Ph.D. program at Rice University in 2009.  My experiences at SHSU were only possible through professors’ desire to inspire students.  As I start a new chapter in my life, I can truly say that the Biology and Chemistry Departments at SHSU not only allowed me to get the most out of my dollar, but to also maximize my abilities as a undergraduate research scientist.


James Wright Spurlin III
James in his lab at Rice.
James Wright Spurlin III
James and Dr. Primm on top of the world (7500 ft elevation, at the Wind River Conference on Prokaryotic Biology in Estes Park, Colorado).  James presented a poster at this national meeting, and received a travel grant to attend.



S.R. Warner Scholarship - $500 (2006 and 2007)

3rd Place Research Poster at American Society for Microbiology (ASM) Regional Conference - $50 (2007)

2nd Place Research Poster at ASM Regional Conference - $100 (2008)

Welch Chemistry Fellowship-$750 (2008) and $1500 (2009)

1st Place Research Poster at ASM Regional Conference - $150 (2009)


Sam Houston State University
A Member of the Texas State University System