Oh, the Places You'll Go: On the wall of her office, biology professor Erica Crespi has a photograph of her senior lab group — nine students who graduated in 2008. “They have really gone on to do amazing things in just the year since they graduated,” says Crespi. “I’m really proud of them.”
All of them are either in graduate school or medical school, or working as researchers at places like the National Institutes of Health or Sloan-Kettering Institute. And while Crespi has every right to be proud of them, they’re pretty typical Vassar science graduates—well trained, highly motivated, and exceptionally successful. Last year, 80 percent of the Vassar seniors who applied to medical school were accepted. The national average was 46 percent.
The focus of Crespi’s research, simply put, is “to understand how organisms respond to stress, and how this ability changes throughout the life of an animal.” Using primarily amphibians, Crespi combines molecular, behavioral, developmental, and ecological experimental approaches to investigate that question, giving her students opportunities for hands-on research ranging from gene assays in the molecular biology lab to field observations out at the Vassar farm.
That kind of multidisciplinary research experience gives Vassar students a leg up when it comes to applying for research internships and jobs as well as graduate and medical school.
Here’s what Crespi’s 2008 seniors are up to now:
- Pictured in back row from left to right:
- Nora Lewin, postbaccalaureate research intern at the National Institutes of Health
- Tessa Solomon-Lane, graduate program in behavioral neuroscience at Georgia State; National Science Foundation Honorable Mention
- Michael Murn, research administration assistant, Sloan-Kettering Institute; grad school applicant
- Yusuke Kumai, graduate program in biology at the University of Ottawa
- Adam Skibinski, MD-Ph.D. program, Tufts Medical School
- Pictured in front row from left to right:
- Joanna Tsai, worked on organic farm in Sweden; applying to graduate school
- Garrett Bell-Gresham, University of Cincinnati Medical School
- Nicholas Mason, graduate program in biology at California State University at Humboldt
- Wendy Leung, clinical intern at Cornell Medical Center; now applying to medical school