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Meet the Grads: Phillip Irion


After Phillip Irion was accepted into his dream school ---West Virginia University, of course ---he knew he wanted to pursue a degree in science. But which science? Unsure of what science degree he wanted to pursue, Irion ultimately declared a major in forensic and investigative science with an emphasis in forensic biology.

He hasn’t looked back since.

“It’s definitely not an easy major,” Irion said. “But it’s a great interdisciplinary major that involved biology, chemistry and physics.”

His passion for science grew after his experience in Associate Professor of Biochemistry Kimberly Barnes’ Biochemistry 1 course. In fact, Irion admitted that had he realized his interest in the interdisciplinary science sooner, he would have double majored in forensic and investigative science and biochemistry.

Irion enjoyed expanding his knowledge of science, even in his hardest classes. One of the hardest classes he took was Assistant Professor of Biology Dana Huebert-Lima’s Introduction to Recombinant DNA.  This class required he learn the basics of recombinant DNA lab techniques and then create an experiment that could be used in lower-level courses.

Although her courses were difficult, Huebert-Lima is Irion’s favorite professor on campus. 

“Before taking her class, I was originally just on the examiner emphasis for my major,” he said. “She inspired me to become a biologist. She was a great professor that genuinely cared that her students were learning.”

As a member of the Honors College, Irion’s most memorable experience at WVU was working as a peer tutor for fellow Honors students.

“I tutored students from varying ages and backgrounds in biology, organic chemistry and biochemistry,” he said. “I felt that I was making a difference to students that I worked with. I liked that I was able to give back to my community through my love and knowledge of science.” 

After graduation, Irion looks forward to pursuing his Master’s of Science in forensic and investigative science degree at WVU. His research will focus on forensic biology.