Highlights of Alumni Who Majored in Biology
Many of our science, math, and engineering graduates continue their education. But many work first, and some work at the same time (Anselmians live for a challenge). Meet a few:
To clot or not to clot - that is the big question when it comes to many serious blood disorders. Abnormalities in the blood's protein can mean that clots form too easily (as in fatal embolism) or not easily enough (as in the various forms of hemophilia). By researching these abnormalities and teaching future doctors and researchers, Rodney Camire may have a role in improving treatment for children who have blood-related diseases.
The magna cum laude biochemistry graduate received tenure at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, where he teaches biochemistry, supervises post-doctoral students, and facilitates bioethics workshops. He is also a researcher at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, which has one of the largest pediatric research programs in the country.
Since graduating from Saint Anselm, Rodney has earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Vermont and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. He has received numerous young investigator awards at national and international medical forums, published extensively, lectured widely and received research grants from national foundations as well as the National Institutes of Health. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, Tracey, and three children.
Tina Cormier wanted a challenging career with the potential to solve global problems. Working at Woods Hole Research Center (one of the world's most famous environmental science research institutes) fills the bill perfectly.
The environmental science graduate uses remote sensing and GIS (geographic information systems) to model tree species' responses to climate change. She also conducts meetings and workshops in the U.S. and South America, teaching people how to combine field measurements with satellite imagery in order to assess their forests and contribute to a global data set that helps scientists monitor changes in the environment. Her job blends several disciplines, including statistics, ecology, geography, computer science, and even Spanish language skills.
After earning an honors degree at Saint Anselm (where she helped Professor Barry Wicklow study the habitat use of the wood turtle), Cormier earned a master's degree in resources and worked at an environmental consulting firm in Nevada.
She recently started a consulting company, Black Osprey Geospatial. Continuing her relationship with Saint Anselm College and her former professor, she collaborates on a grant-funded study of the brook floater mussel with Barry Wicklow.
B.A. Saint Anselm College 2001
M.S. University of New Hampshire
For me, the hands-on nature of the coursework in the Biology department was critical for a successful graduate school experience. When I got to graduate school, it was evident that my Saint Anselm science training was superior to that of my peers who had attended other schools.
The critical thinking and writing training I received at Saint Anselm is just as valuable as the science education itself...the ability to author effective reports and presentations has given me a huge competitive edge.
B.A. Saint Anselm College 2000
Ph.D. University of Vermont 2004
I always knew that I wanted to pursue a career in medicine; however, I wanted more time to figure out exactly where I wanted to go to school, thus I decided to obtain my master's degree. The master's program at Boston University was quite rigorous; however, I believe that because of my education at Saint Anselm College I was fully prepared to handle the curriculum.
Dr. Larson's Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy class taught me the skills of being able to quickly learn and integrate a large volume of material in a short period of time. My exposure to Biochemistry from Dr. Lavoie made my Biochemistry class much more manageable. In addition, doing research my senior year with Dr. Tobin and Dr. Vallari gave me lab experience that was extremely helpful when applying for research positions to complete my thesis work.
I was surprised when I would go on medical school interviews and sometimes the interviewer would know of Saint Anselm College. One interviewer even remarked, "Saint Anselm is a very challenging school. You must have gotten a wonderful education there."
Without my education at Saint Anselm, I do not believe that I would have excelled in the master's program, and I most likely would not have gained entrance to medical school. My undergraduate studies prepared me not only to be able to handle a rigorous curriculum but also how to handle ethical dilemmas and everyday situations while still keeping my composure. I would not have gotten as far in my education as I have without the help of the Saint Anselm community!
B.A. Saint Anselm College 2010
M.A. Boston University 2012, Medical Sciences
Currently pursuing an M.D. at UMass Medical School
It is early morning when Jennifer Odell arrives at the Georgia Aquarium, the second largest aquarium in the world, to start her job as the associate curator of mammals and birds. It is the busiest time of day at the aquarium, when physical exams, cleaning, and feeding of the animals occurs before opening to the public.
Odell's job is to oversee all areas of the mammal and bird operations which include the beluga whales, African penguins, otters and harbor seals. She helps to provide daily care to these animals and manages the team of people who work with them.
After graduating from Saint Anselm with a biology degree, Odell signed on as a volunteer with the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut. Her dream of working there came true when she was hired as an aquarist of marine mammals and birds. From there she found her job at the Georgia Aquarium, a place that she loves coming to every day.
"I love the relationships I can build with the animals as well as the people I work with. I can't look at the faces of the animals and be unhappy," she says.
Odell has watched many animals give birth and has seen the babies grow into adults. "Watching penguins lay eggs and then seeing them hatch is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. It's the miracle of life lived out in such a short period of time of only 40 days."
Odell likes showing other people what she does, especially children. "I get to share my love and passion for animals and what I do with the guests. You can see the excitement reflected in the eyes of the children," she says.
It's a dream job for this biology major, and her career is still on the move. "What is important hasn't really changed, she says: "My job always will be about providing the best possible care to the animals."
In November of 2012, Odell traveled to Cape Town, South Africa for two weeks to help the South African Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds (SANCCOB). SANCCOB rescues and rehabilitates all coastal birds; however, much of their work is with African Penguins. Odell admitted new birds, provided daily care for the animals, and helped with the release of six penguins back into the ocean. Throughout her two weeks at SANCCOB, the Chick Rearing Unit went from caring for four penguin chicks to 28. "It was an amazing experience," she says.
Odell has also been able to be a part of the ABC show Ocean Mysteries with Jeff Corwin, which works in conjunction with the Georgia Aquarium. Jeff Corwin, a conservationist and TV personality, shows what life in the sea is like while also promoting important messages about conservation and ocean research.
"It has been really cool to work with Jeff and develop a relationship with him," she says. Odell sees many celebrities at the Georgia Aquarium but she loves interacting with all guests, famous or not, because she is passionate about her job.
Odell believes that her background in biology helped her to understand the way animals are made, how their bodies work and medical issues that they encounter. She feels that her college career prepared her for the real world, teaching her time management, a strong work ethic and how to relate to people.
"I'm proud to work for the Georgia Aquarium. We have the chance to impact hundreds of thousands of people who visit us every year, hopefully encouraging people to care about and protect the world around them. It's always a responsibility to care for animals, but it's so rewarding and I'm thankful every day for my job," she says.
Sarah Raabis' dream began when she was a summer volunteer with Heifer International at a farm in Massachusetts. Now, with a biology degree from Saint Anselm and a DVM (doctor of veterinary medicine) from Tufts University, she hopes to use her love of animals to improve human health around the world.
After her first year at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts, Raabis received a U.S. Army research grant to study livestock density and disease prevalence in Mozambique. Living in a tent near Limpopo National Park, she and another student traveled to small villages to monitor the health of cattle. She also worked at a dairy veterinary practice in upstate New York.
After finishing vet school, Raabis continued her education in an internship at Colorado State University and moved on to a three-year residency in large animal internal medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Where she goes after her specialty boards is still an open question, but Raabis has become fascinated with the role of politics in improving rural international health.
"There are a lot of things you can do from a veterinary perspective," she says. "It's very rewarding when the things you've studied actually help make people feel better."
B.A. Saint Anselm College 2008
D.V.M. Tufts University
When she teaches undergraduate biology students, Jessica follows the example set by her Saint Anselm professors. As a senior, she collaborated with her professors on research related to the development of breast tumors. Their contagious excitement about research, their patient mentoring, and their sincere interest in her academic development inspired and motivated her to pursue a teaching career.
After completing her doctorate in biochemistry and molecular pharmacology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, she began teaching as a visiting assistant professor at Misericordia University. She joined the faculty of Western New England College in 2010 and teaches courses in general biology, cell biology, and genomics.
B.A. Saint Anselm College 2003
Ph.D. University of Massachusetts Medical School
Currently Assistant Professor of Biology at Western New England University