What have you been up to since graduation?
Since graduating in 2014 I have continued my education at Rutgers New Brunswick as a Microbiology major. I continued to build upon the great foundation MCC had instilled in me and the sky was the limit. After graduating from Rutgers, I am now attending LECOM and hoping to one day be able to save lives as an ER physician.
What is one of your greatest achievements since graduating from MCC?
One of my greatest achievements since graduating from MCC was graduating Summa Cum Laude from Rutgers with Academic Excellence in Microbiology. I received the Selman Waksman award from the Department of Biochemistry and Microbiology for having the highest GPA amongst the Microbiology majors graduating in my year. I was truly grateful and humbled while accepting this award because every one of these individuals I studied alongside was a powerhouse of knowledge and an academic giant in my eyes. I am not sure any of this would have happened if I had not received such a strong education in the Biological sciences from Middlesex. It was the ground beneath my feet that allowed me to jump high and reach for the stars.
What is your fondest memory of MCC?
My fondest memory at MCC was working on a project for my Genetics class called Disnetics. We watched a video one day with Professor Gardner that took a popular song and replaced the lyrics with genetics concepts and I loved it. I asked Professor Gardner if the class could do something like this for extra credit and she agreed. I was wondering what song to use as I was watching a Disney movie and it came to me all at once. I was going to use several Disney songs to highlight many of the molecular processes we’ve learned about. I pitched the idea to the class and almost everyone wanted to join in so we replaced the Disney lyrics with Genetics ones, filmed the video, put it on YouTube and showed it to Professor Gardner. Tears of joy ran down her cheeks as she watched it making all the hours that went into this project worth it.
What was your favorite place on campus, why?
L’hommedieu Hall was by far the coolest place to be for us Bio nerds. Almost all of our classes were in this building as well as the offices of the professors who taught these classes. The Amphitheater which we used as a study room, a venue for filming projects, and other miscellaneous activities was right upstairs. Not too far down below was the student lounge where we would do our last-minute cramming before exams. There was computer access, vending machines, and several bathrooms. Basically, this building had almost everything a college student could need short of beds to spend the night. I have made great memories here with my friends and professors and will never forget the halls of the building with the name that to this day I almost always spell incorrectly.
Who was your favorite professor and why?
There are two professors at MCC that have greatly impacted my life and to choose between either of them as my favorite would be an impossible task. Professors Donna-Marie Gardner and Erin Christensen, my Genetics and Microbiology professors respectively, have revolutionized the way I view the sciences. Both extravagant professors have given me priceless information that I have looked back on at Rutgers as well as LECOM. It was not only the knowledge they provided but the way the presented it that made me love their classes. They were always engaging, entertaining, and passionate about what they presented which made learning the information much more enjoyable. After finishing my Genetics course with Professor Gardner, she approached me one day with the opportunity to be her TA for the following semester. I eagerly accepted her offer because I not only loved her as a Professor but I truly enjoyed her course and wanted the opportunity to help others enjoy it just as much. Working alongside such a wonderful person was truly a blessing that I will never forget. Professor Christensen helped me see that there is a world inside of our world. Her passion for Microbiology made me fall in love with the subject as well, eventually leading me to major in it at Rutgers. Both of these professors are masters of their craft and it has been an absolute privilege to experience their art.
If you could offer a current MCC student advice, what would it be?
No matter what anyone says, the only limiting reactant in your life equation is yourself. There will always be the naysayers and those who think you are not good enough but the best way to respond to them is with your success. They do not run your race, you do and it will always be only you. The education at MCC is so good to the point that no matter where you go afterwards you will be at the same level as anyone else and oftentimes even ahead. Take advantage of the great programs offered at MCC, because as long as you do your part, I guarantee that success will follow. Dream big, stay focused, and work like there’s no tomorrow. If you do this, nothing can ever stand in your way.
The journeys of the students who walk the halls of Middlesex County College and give it their all are destined for excellence. It is not always an easy path because the reality is life breaks us down more often than we’d like to admit, but with the preparation MCC provides, we will always have the tools to rebuild ourselves stronger than ever. I do not know my destination, but I do know that because of this great institution, my adventure is going to be grand.