Sunflower State Football Club & Neuromics, Inc. Student-Athlete Interview

Updated: Sep 3, 2021

Eric Lurtz

4/4/21

Neuromics, Inc. Student-Athlete Interview

Introductions


I’d like to start this off by saying hello to all our faithful fans! My name is Eric Lurtz, and I am the marketing and media intern for Sunflower State FC and a student from Rockhurst University. I had the pleasure to meet with Sunflower State FC student-athletes, Wyatt Fowler and Dakota Okwuone, and Neuromics, Inc. CEO, Pete Shuster.


First, we have Wyatt Fowler. Fowler is originally from Olathe, Kansas. Now, he is in Atchison, Kansas, where he plays for Benedictine College on the Ravens men’s soccer team. Wyatt has been going through Benedictine College’s Mathematics and Computer Science programs. And he even got accepted to the Biostatics Graduate Program at the University of Kansas Medical Center. For Sunflower State FC, Wyatt plays midfield and winger. He’s an outstanding and hardworking player. We’re extremely lucky to have him in our ranks.


Next, we have Dakota Okwuone. Dakota is originally from Olathe, Kansas as well. He attended Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas where he studied Biological Sciences, Health and Society, and Political Science while obtaining minors in Chemistry and Neuroscience. He is now working with the University of Kansas Medical Center (KUMC) going through their MD-PhD Physician Scientist Training Program. While attending SMU, Okwuone played for the Mustangs men’s soccer team. Dakota is now back in the Kansas City area. For Sunflower State FC, Dakota plays midfield and defender. He’s an exceptionally bright man on and off the field, who shows great leadership skills. We could not be happier with Dakota Okwuone’s contributions to our team.

Last, we have Pete Shuster. Pete is from Northfield, Minnesota. He now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota where he owns and runs Neuromics, Inc., which is a Bioreagents company specializing in providing reagents and methods for the Neuroscience Research Community. Pete has an educational background is in biology with a focus in biochemistry. Before Neuromics, he was in sales and sales management working for organizations ranging from start-ups to large enterprise software companies. Pete and Neuromics got connected with Sunflower State FC through owner and President, Joseph Lipoff. We are extremely happy to have them on board and excited to see where our partnership will take us in the future.


The Impact of Their Research and Sunflower State Football Club


About a month ago, Dakota, Wyatt, Pete, and I met over Zoom to discuss Wyatt and Dakota’s path through college and how their research has affected their lives on and off the field. To start off, Dakota and Wyatt told us the programs and research opportunities they participated in during their college careers. First, Dakota went through Southern Methodist University’s Biology program, as mentioned before. Wyatt also is and has worked with STEM Midwest, DarkHorse.io, and Missouri State University mainly focusing on statistics with those three opportunities.


The research the both of them have done have impacted their lives. Dakota told us that he has been helped to be a part of a community aiming at helping people by his research at KUMC, they have provided him the experience he needs to be a successful Physician Scientist, and overall, gave him a way to express my creativity off the field. For Wyatt, his work with Stem Midwest, DarkHorse.io, and Missouri State University taught him to look at all the angles and even find new ways to think about issues and problems he faces on and off the field. They both even thank Neuromics for their help on the field because without Neuromics as our title sponsor, they could not play the sport they love, support their community, or represent their community through the team.


Wyatt and Dakota have accomplished many things with their research this past year. Wyatt looked at what statistics lead to winning in soccer with DarkHorse.io’s technology and in turn, which statistics are most important in order to show players that make an impact in the game that aren’t noticed as prominently. Dakota has been rotating between three labs, biochemistry, cancer biology, and pharmacology in order to select which lab he would want to finish his PhD research at when the time comes. With this work Dakota is accomplishing, he could hopefully work in the area of cancer metastasis to study its pathways and create new therapies to lower the cancer mortality rate. Both of these men are striving to make change in our world and make it better than before.


Towards the end of our meeting, we had one final question regarding COVID-19. We asked them how they would design and conduct a study for COVID-19 rapid tests. They both gave great answers based off their respective fields of study. Wyatt proposed to administer rapid tests to employees in workplaces of high, medium, and low-density areas, have their employees get tested prior to work, and analyze the differences of the tests in each cohort over time. He was also interested in the employees’ social and psychological response to those tests. Dakota declared that he would create a test that has specificity and sensitivity of the PCR tests, but with a fast turnaround, like the antigen tests. This would require detailed study of the virus for a screening target and clinical data for testing efficacy.


Us at Sunflower State FC would like to thank Pete Shuster and Neuromics for the incredible help making this meeting happen and the participation we had from Pete himself. We would also like to thank Wyatt Fowler and Dakota Okwuone for joining us and taking time out of their days to make this happen and provide the information we needed to properly elaborate on how their research can better our communities.

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