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.