PLAINVIEW – Those who don’t know her well might say that Libby Saultz is quiet, soft spoken, maybe a little shy. Family and friends might say otherwise. Regardless, there is one thing the faculty and staff at Wayland Baptist University can agree upon, Saultz is an exceptional student.
A senior from Amarillo, Saultz will participate in Wayland’s spring commencement ceremony at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 11, in Hutcherson Center. She will graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in molecular biology with a minor in mathematics. And she will graduate with the respect of her faculty and peers.
The 2013 Female Citizen of the Year award winner, Saultz came to Wayland in the fall of 2009 after graduating from Amarillo High School. She played for the Flying Queens basketball program for a year, giving up the game to focus on her education. Saultz’s dream was to major in education then find a job coaching and teaching history.
So, naturally, she enrolled in biology and math.
“I could have [graduated] earlier if I had known what I wanted to do right away,” Saultz said. “It took long enough to figure that out.”
Saultz said her interest in science stems from the educational track her older sister, Emily, pursued while a student at Baylor University. Saultz said her sister minored in chemistry and ended up taking a number of science classes pursuing a pre-medical degree.
“I decided that I wanted to take science classes, too,” she said.
Saultz quickly became a fixture in the labs of the science building, studying and conducting research projects. Her research group is one of the groups working with the effects of blood root on breast cancer cells. Chemistry and biology students have been working on the research that is showing promising results in the area of breast cancer. Saultz has also been involved with the American Chemical Society and the Mathematical Association of America.
“I like science for nerdy reasons, I guess,” Saultz said. “It is interesting. It’s hard, but when you do understand something it is rewarding to fully understand the concept.”
Saultz said her course of study has required a lot of work and meant spending a lot of hours in the science building and library, but the encouragement and support she received from her professors like Jessica Faucett, Dr. Adam Reinhart and Christa Smith made it all worthwhile.
“And not just them,” she said. “[The professors] have really invested in me and taken the time to talk to me and get to know me. I have gotten to know them and they have helped me out when I struggled.”
Saultz said her entire Wayland experience has had a positive impact on her life. The amount of hands-on learning has helped her truly grasp the education and understand how to figure things out on her own.
“We’ve been taught to research and figure it out and sometimes, I hate that, but it’s been good,” she said.
Saultz will receive her diploma on Saturday along with more than 100 master’s and bachelor’s degree graduates. Wayland will hold a ring ceremony at 9 a.m. for graduates and alumni who have purchased a class ring and choose to participate. Torch and Mantle, a celebration where graduates thank their mentors and encourage an underclassman, will take place at 10:30. Torch and Mantle will be followed by the graduation luncheon in the Laney Student Activities Center. Commencement begins at 2 p.m.