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Biology

Graduates

Whether they graduated from MBC one year ago or 20 years ago, Biology graduates credit their time at the college with meaningful work in the field.

Giannina Garces ’02

Garces, who graduated with honors from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in 2009, is a second-year resident in neurosurgery at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School. She was recently recognized by the medical students with a Teaching Award in Surgery.

She, has published 24 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals as part of her medical and scientific background, and has written five news articles while at the Center for American Progress, a think tank in Washington, D.C. under the direction of John Podesta, former White House chief of staff under Bill Clinton and co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Project. She is happy to report that she is celebrating three wonderful years of marriage with Richard R. Mellon, Ph.D., a University of Virginia astronomer.

“In all honesty, none of this would have been possible without the education I received at Mary Baldwin’s Program for the Exceptionally Gifted.”

Catherine Armbruster ’07

A microbiologist at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Armbruster is researching bacterial biofilms in model water distribution systems. She made a documentary called INDIAbetes about epidemics of Type 2 diabetes and obesity in India, filmed while she was researching in that country.

“While students at other undergraduate colleges were watching their teaching assistants flip through Power Point slides describing how a scanning electron microscope works, I was learning firsthand how to fix one. Those hands-on experiences are what make MBC students attractive to employers and graduate schools.”

Megan Dzaack Bayonet ’05 and ’08

After earning her biology degree, Megan graduated with an MLitt degree in 2008 and is now pursuing a career in home and fashion textiles. She and her family are settled in the Shenandoah Valley and frequently attend special events at MBC.

“The biology program at MBC formed a crucial part of my home away from home support network. The accessible faculty and staff of the biology department endeavored to make learning a hands-on experience wherever possible. The off-campus learning opportunities were invaluable for my later experiences in internships and teaching.”

Sherry Slayman ’05

Slayman graduated from Johns Hopkins University in 2009, earning a master’s degree in bioscience regulatory affairs. Her education has allowed her to break into the field of medical products and clinical research. Now living in San Antonio, Texas, she works for the Department of Orthopedic Surgery at University of Texas Health Science Center, where she coordinates all clinical research for the department. The research ranges from stem cells to mapping the functional anatomy of the knee. In her spare time, she occasionally works as an independent regulatory consultant for small biotechnology firms helping them to submit their investigational products to the FDA for review.

“I attribute all of my success in both my job and graduate school to the MBC biology faculty. After talking to biology majors from other institutions, I feel that MBC biology alums are some of the most prepared biology graduates.”

Tania L. Cheng ’06

Cheng BS, BA, LVN is currently in the U.S. Army Reserves and living on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. She sold her coffee business back in 2007, explored the Houston oil business, and tapped into the healthcare field once again. She is now attending Hawaii Pacific University and seeking an additional degree in nursing. Her main goal now is to become a CRNA and a skilled surfer.

“A degree in biology at MBC helped prepare me for a career in the medical field, while inspiring me to also earn a PhD in English. I was very impressed by certain professors and their passion for teaching, so hopefully after retiring from the medical field, I will be able to teach English at a university.”

Alexa “Lexi” Martin ’05

Martin is a soil conservationist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) in Fredericksburg, Virginia, covering King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford counties. She also supports the NRCS and Soil and Water Conservation District staff in the Warm Springs and Verona service centers, Alleghany, Augusta, Bath, and Highland counties. Her job includes design, surveying, and implementation of conservation practices to maintain, protect, and enhance current natural resources. The resource concerns addressed are soil, water, air, plants, and animals, both wildlife and domestic livestock. After graduating from Mary Baldwin College, she earned a master’s of science in environmental science and engineering at Virginia Tech in December 2005.

“I use the information gained from botany, freshwater biology, and microbiology on a daily basis within my job. I am constantly faced with identifying various tree and plant species, using the ‘Stream Visual Assessment Protocol’ for determining the required conservation practices needed to protect the aquatic habitat, and utilizing my knowledge of microbial processes within soil-plant relationships and waste treatment. I am constantly looking back at my old textbooks and course notes to find data useful in continuing the NRCS mission, ‘Helping People Help the Land.’”