Chelesa Fearce is a senior, biochemistry major Spelman College. She is currently a Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement Scholar (RISE). Her research at Spelman is focused on understanding the formation of complex biomolecules from simple compounds under abiotic conditions. In the summer of 2015 she conducted research at the University of Cincinnati under the mentorship of Dr. Abdel-Malek. Here, she quantified the efficacy of analogs of alpha-Melanocyte Stimulating Hormone in producing eumelanin, the main photoprotective mechanism against UV radiation and skin cancer. She has displayed strong scientific scholarship and has published a scientific book chapter in Advances in Chemistry Research and a journal article on her research findings in Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. Upon graduation, Chelesa plans to pursue an MD/PhD in Pharmacology and eventually become a psychiatrist. She hopes to be able to develop safer, more affordable treatments for psychiatric disorders such as depression and schizophrenia. Chelesa’s interest in biomedical research stems from her passion for biochemistry and serving those in need. Chelesa grew up homeless and with a mother who was affected by cancer. She saw how an unequal access to healthcare affected the lives of those who were uninsured. Because of her experience, she would like to dedicate her life to providing healthcare to those without insurance. Chelesa is a member of the Honors Program Student, a chapel assistant, a member of SISTA Speak UP, a member of the TigerSharks swim program, and a member of the National Coalition of Negro Women. Chelesa also serves as a Chemistry Learning Apprentice in the chemistry department, where she serves as the lead tutor in general and organic chemistry. After Spelman College, Chelesa will be pursuing a post-baccalaureate program at the National Institutes of Health where she will be under the mentorship of Dr. David Sibley in the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. While there, she will be studying g-coupled protein receptor proteins involved in schizophrenia.