Radford finds balance between professional and personal life

Updated: Feb. 5

Maluki Radford is a senior at Washburn from Topeka, planning to attend the University of Kansas School of Medicine this fall. As a molecular biology and bio technology major, Radford has spent many hours in classrooms and labs studying and doing research, but she hasn’t let school consume her life in the past four years.

“I’m from Topeka but chose to live on campus so that I could learn to be my own person,” said Radford. “It’s nice living on my own, but I like being able to go home for laundry and to see my dog whenever I want.”

Radford has been a part of several organizations at Washburn including Tri Beta Biology Honor Society, president of Ratio Christy and has been a member of the Chemistry Club and Christian Challenge worship band.

“Singing is something I’ve always enjoyed. I was in the Challenge worship band for a couple of years, and this semester I get to be a part of the Washburn University Choir,” Radford said. 

Outside of class, Radford helps with WyldLife at Robinson Middle School and is a member of a Topeka running club called the Sunflower Striders.

“I got connected to the Sunflower Striders through Dr. Paul Wagner who is the president of the club,” Radford said. “His wife, Dr. Tracy Wagner, and a group of us get together on Tuesdays to run, and I’m doing a marathon training class right now through that.”

Assistant professor Tracy Wagner has had Radford in class and thinks highly of her.

“Maluki is really interactive in class. She’s good at connecting with other students, is energetic and is always willing to try new things,” said Wagner. “It’s been great to have her in the Sunflower Striders. Students are always looking for ways to find balance, and Maluki has done that through taking care of her physical health while striving to do well in school.”

This summer Radford worked on a cancer research project funded through the Kansas Idea Network of Biomedical Research Excellence. Radford worked alongside a student from University of Kansas to research the effects of mutant p53 on stress granule formation, which is involved in drug resistance. The pair won an excellence award for their final presentation.

“It was rewarding, but so much work,” said Radford. “We would go in and look for these super specific results every day. At times it was frustrating, but I kept reminding myself of how this research could help people. In the end, our results were completely opposite from what we were anticipating, but as a science geek, that’s what made it so incredibly exciting.”

Radford shared some insight for other students with big ambitions.

“My first couple of years at Washburn, I went hard. I stressed myself out trying to figure everything out at once,” Radford said. “My advice is don’t freak out. Stress is ok sometimes, because it means that you’re pushing yourself. Once I realized that, I learned that I could enjoy myself too. Second, I knew that God had a plan for me. If it was meant to be, it would be.”

Updated information: Radford will be attending the University of Kansas School of Medicine.