Alumni Perspectives

Students
Zach

I’m a graduate of the M.S. of Chemistry. My goal was to attend a top-tier university to get my PhD in biochemistry, but as a Division 1 athlete (wrestling) at UPenn, my GPA and research experience were lacking. After graduating from University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. in chemistry and philosophy, I wanted to immerse myself in basic research to develop myself as an independent scientist. Villanova was critical in making that dream come true – I am finishing my 2nd year in the biochemistry PhD program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison!

Villanova is such a unique environment to learn and grow not only from an educational perspective, but also a personal perspective. Professors are incredibly accessible and accommodating, all of whom have a devout passion for seeing their student excel in the classroom. However, the best part of Villanova is their research – within the chemistry and biochemistry departments, there exists a diverse set of research areas led by a group of phenomenal faculty mentors. I had the great pleasure of working with Dr. Aimee Eggler. There, I studied the mechanistic upregulation of transcription Nrf2 and the associated cytoprotective effects elicited by different phytochemical compounds, such as sulforaphane (from broccoli sprouts). My experience in Dr. Eggler’s lab was truly an invaluable experience that propelled me to the next stages of my life. I also gained countless friends and mentors, in my lab and throughout the department, none more important than my mentor herself. I hope to collaborate with Dr. Eggler during my time at UW-Madison!

Of all the memories I have from Villanova, it is difficult to settle on just one. The journey of starting a lab with a new faculty member or mentoring the new students around me cannot be summarized by a single moment. If I must choose though, I will recall three of my favorite memories. Our lab often gathered for dinner and fire pit snacks at Dr. Egglers house and having ice cream s’mores with my research family was such a wonderful experience. We also took a lab trip to Six Flags amusement park, and while driving to the park, there was stunning rendition of “Let It Go” from Disney’s Frozen that I captured on video. And finally, I had the opportunity to travel to beautiful Corvallis, Oregon to present my research at a national conference. These are just three of the countless memories I have from my time at Villanova.

 

 

laura ator

I graduated from Villanova in 2014 with a Master of Science in Chemistry, and I can easily say I would not be where I am today had I not pursued my graduate degree at Villanova.  The Masters program offered a balance between taking classes, doing research for my thesis, and being a TA for undergraduate organic chemistry labs.  I had the opportunity to enroll in courses such as “Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products” and “Organic Structure Analysis”, which have served as invaluable resources in my career as a medicinal chemist.  Additionally, running experiments and generating results in lab provided me with challenging yet rewarding research and the opportunity to contribute to multiple publications.  With the support of my advisor, Dr. Minbiole, and the rest of the chemistry faculty, I left Villanova equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to achieve my goal of starting a career working in pharmaceutical drug discovery as a medicinal chemist. 

Beth Burzynski

Since I had been out of school for six years, and was planning to do a major career re-alignment, choosing a graduate school was a very deliberative process for me. I had earned my undergraduate degree at a large, research-focused institution, and sought to re-launch my academic education at a smaller university that offered limited class sizes, frequent interactions with faculty, and a strong emphasis on teaching. Villanova’s Master of Science program in Chemistry stood out to me for these reasons, as well as for its research and teaching assistanceship (TA) opportunities. The research-based MS option allowed me to gain practical experience, gauge my interest in research as part of a long-term career, and dovetailed nicely with the classroom learning. I frequently applied knowledge attained through coursework to research dilemmas or experimental design. Furthermore, the TA-ship was a tremendous incentive, as it enabled me to focus full-time on school, and gain teaching skills that are valuable for my professional path.

While at Villanova, I thought that the program’s curriculum was well designed, with the balance between core classes and electives. I attained a broad perspective on key chemistry topics, but was able to deeply explore those that were the most applicable to my future career, (and the most interesting to me!). Through these courses, I also became acquainted with many faculty members, and bonded with my fellow Master’s students. As previously mentioned, to enhance this classroom learning, I was fortunate enough to join the lab group of Dr. Kevin Minbiole. There, I gained instrumental research experience processing large data sets, using LC-MS technology, and performing natural products extractions. Likewise, the mentorship that I received from Dr. Minbiole, and our post-doc, Dr. Tom [Umile], and the relationships that I built with both my graduate and undergraduate lab mates were truly extraordinary.

My time at Villanova gave me the confidence and necessary tools to chase my next ambition: I am currently in a PhD program in Food Science at Cornell University, with a focus on grape and wine flavor chemistry. I aspire to continue in enology-related research and education as a long-term professional path. The MS program in Chemistry prepared me well for these immediate and distant goals; I cannot advocate it enough for those who are considering graduate work!

 

Graduate Program Contact

Kevin Minbiole, PhD
Director, Chemistry Graduate Program
Professor of Chemistry

Villanova University
Mendel Hall, Room 300A
800 Lancaster Ave.
Villanova, PA 19085
(610) 519-4873

kevin.minbiole@villanova.edu