|Year of Entry: 2006
||Age at Entry: 14
||Hometown: Midlothian, Virginia
Gateway To Self-Discovery
The Program for the Exceptionally Gifted (PEG) at Mary Baldwin College provided me so many opportunities. I was able at a very young age to explore my interests, complete my undergraduate degree, and discover myself along the way.
PEG was my gateway to Mary Baldwin College. MBC is a community where, if you are willing to put in a little effort, you will get so much back in return, both in education and personal confidence. The relationships I gained with my professors, student life, and fellow students helped shape who I’ve become as a 20 year old “Boldly Baldwin” and “Proud PEG” graduate.
I am currently pursuing my PhD in cell and molecular biology at the New York University (NYU) Sackler School of Biomedical Sciences and working as a graduate research assistant at NYU’s Langone Medical Center. The work I do has applications in molecular cancer therapy, muscular dystrophy treatment, and understanding cell life span. Many individuals in my field are shocked to find out, or may even forget at times, my younger age. The knowledge, maturity, and confidence I gained at MBC speak louder than my age. I have a clear career path in mind and could not have achieved the level of success I have without my PEG gateway.
When applying to biomedical graduate programs, my Baldwin experiences both academic and extracurricular impressed graduate school admissions committees. It is very rare for a professor to know about a student outside of the classroom. At MBC, my professors were true mentors helping me achieve my personal best. I remember my academic advisor, Dr. Jones, and spending hours talking in his office; often those conversations started with classes and drifted off to extracurricular activities and adapting to college. I will always treasure the support and encouragement I received from my research advisor, Dr. Pentz. He always had a helpful story relating to an issue I would have in lab or a doubt I had with my career. His endless supply of Cell journals, which I would spend copious amounts of time in his office discussing, helped me focus on my senior thesis topic in cancer research. Every graduate school to which I applied wanted to hear more about my Baldwin senior thesis. At a small liberal arts college, I investigated the effect of miRNA-145 on p53 activation in breast cancer cells, research that has potential future implications in molecular cancer therapies. I remember with a smile those long hours at Pierce lab, the support of my professors, and being challenged to do my personal best.
More Than Hard Work
My four years at Mary Baldwin College included so much more than just challenging academic work. Student life and campus events hosted by both MBC and PEG kept a smile on my face when I was consumed with classes and research. I still remember details of my first Boarding School Social Activities Committee (BSSAC) mixer, every Signature Ball, Late Night Series events, ToTTs, and Junior Ring Ceremony. More important than these events were the people with whom I shared them. My friends included PEGs, traditional students, and VWIL students.
While at Baldwin I had so many leadership opportunities including Judicial Board chairwoman, Circle K International president, and Relay for Life committee. These extracurriculars taught me about myself and my values while helping me improve my goal setting skills, organizational skills, and communication skills. I never felt that my age put me at a disadvantage when it came to being involved at Baldwin.
My roommate senior year is still my best friend. She is a fellow PEG and just as studious. We both had a stressful year working on our senior theses and graduate program applications. We were able to celebrate our hard work during commencement weekend, both leaving with clear career paths. We make time to see each other at least twice a year and have regular Skype chats. I truly made lifelong friends at MBC. I am so very grateful for the opportunities and sense of purpose that are at the cornerstone of a Mary Baldwin College education. I would not have had these opportunities without PEG.