Austin Underwood


The Ohio State University


Double Major in Biology and Chemistry

Plans after college:

Either go to medical school or get my PhD in Chemistry for Drug Development and Design

Favorite thing about CKI or favorite memory:

I absolutely love the fellowship and hanging out with my friends from all over the world!


“If we knew what it was that we were doing, it wouldn’t be called research, would it?”

This Albert Einstein quote is the first thing that I see every morning as I wake up. It’s on a poster on my wall, and it serves as a constant reminder why I’ve dedicated endless hours over the past three years of my life researching cancer: to stay curiously determined. My name is Austin Underwood and I am not only serving as a Circle K International trustee, but also as a cancer researcher.

Many people think the job of a cancer researcher is one of the coolest jobs in the world, and honestly, I can’t say I disagree. Every day I have the opportunity to work with leading biochemists to look at how specific mutations can lead to the development of cancer — and most importantly, how we can design drugs to help treat these mutations for patients who suffer from cancer. It is a really rewarding experience to think that the world is a slightly better place because of the work that I have done and developed.

I credit a large portion of my success in my research to the skills that I have learned in my leadership positions in the Kiwanis family. Using my experience leading a team, having to use time-management skills, and not being scared to voice my opinion has been vital to my success. I wouldn’t be able to do what I love without this experience.

I also was able to explore my passion for cancer research even in CKI with one of our preferred service partners: St. Baldrick’s Foundation. In my term as Ohio District governor, I was able to raise over $3,000 for pediatric cancer research through initiatives such as being strapped to a tree and pelted with water balloons and “braving the shave.” I got to integrate my passion for service and cancer prevention in CKI — and make my experience truly unique.

I strive every single day to give back to the communities that have given so much to me and allow me to stay curiously determined.