Hometown: New Milford, Conn.
Major: Biochemistry, American Chemical Society approved
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Biochemistry
Internships: Five-year intern at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical Company in the departments of Immunology and Inflammation, Translational Sciences, and Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics
ACTIVITIES: Chemistry club president and member; volunteer chemistry tutor; National Society of Collegiate Scholars member; dual presenter at WestConn Research Day; "Step into the World International Women's Day" for justice and peace at Franciscan's International, New York City participant; American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition, New Orleans participant; supplementary instructor for general chemistry courses; American Chemical Society; Handy Dandy Man Ministry "Rake and Bake" fall yard cleanup for the elderly and disabled
Honors and Awards: Dean’s List; Henry Barnard Distinguished Student Award, 2009; American Institute of Chemistry Award, 2009; General Assembly Citation for Academic Achievements, 2009; WCSU Honors Program; WCSU Academic Scholarship; WCSU Alumni Association Scholarship; Student Leadership Recognition Award; Boehringer Ingelheim Connecticut Business and Industry Association Fellowship Grant
Meredith Liberto began her collegiate studies at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, Penn., pursuing a doctorate of pharmacy. "After four days, I knew I had to come home because I was extremely homesick," she explains. "Although the WCSU semester had already started, the admission deadline had not passed yet. My mother played an instrumental role in my transition from Philadelphia to WCSU. Since I was still in Philadelphia, she met with admissions counselors, submitted my paperwork, and compiled a course schedule for me. I applied, was accepted to WCSU, and rescued from Philadelphia all in the same day. On the way home, I took a self- guided tour of the Midtown campus and prepared for classes the next day. I never had a formal orientation or official tour of the WCSU campus, but leaving Philadelphia and coming to WCSU was the greatest decision I ever made!"
Despite the challenges she encountered her first year of college, WCSU proved to be the best choice for her, Liberto says. "The new, state-of–the-art science facilities and small class sizes were definitely a reason to come to here! I was shocked transitioning from a general chemistry class of hundreds to only 30. In addition, I had never met such a supportive and encouraging faculty and staff. The chemistry department really took me under their wing and relayed a sense of confidence and knowledge when it came to biochemistry.”
Liberto says the entire WestConn chemistry faculty has mentored her, especially department of chemistry chair Dr. Paula Secondo and chemistry faculty member Richard Molinelli. "Through their personal experiences and scientific knowledge, the WCSU chemistry department has significantly contributed to my academic, professional and personal success," she says. "Words cannot describe the impact this department has had on my life. I am so grateful for their expertise, friendship, and little 'life lessons.'" Additionally, Liberto's internship provided her with a valuable resource. "Dr. Joseph Woska, my senior research mentor at Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceutical Company, has become my greatest inspiration," she says. "His passion and knowledge of science has inspired me to work hard, to pursue all opportunities, to never be afraid to make mistakes, and to strive for excellence. His example and expertise has shaped me into the scientist I am today!"
Asked what she will remember most about her WestConn experience, Liberto says, "Attending the American Chemical Society National Meeting and Exposition in New Orleans, La. Attending the ACS National Meeting provided an opportunity for me to explore current areas of scientific research, network with senior scientists, attend career enhancement seminars, and explore the city of New Orleans and sample its unique culture. This experience was very exciting and special because I got to share it with my WCSU mentor and friends!”
After graduation, Liberto plans to pursue a job in the pharmaceutical industry in order to enhance her laboratory skills and gain some work experience. "I hope to continue my education and pursue graduate school in the near future," she says.
Liberto’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "In the words of my Boehringer Ingelheim mentor, Dr. Joseph Woska, 'Go big or go home.' Take risks, push yourself, pursue your passions, and strive to do your personal best. Always remember to believe in yourself and surround yourself with good company.”