Hometown: New Fairfield, Connecticut
Major: Biology - Professional (Pre-Veterinary)
WCSU Degree: Bachelor of Science in Biology
Activities: Dean’s Circle for two semesters, Pre-Veterinary mentor since Fall 2016, research in Dr. Cordeira’s lab using neuroscience techniques since Fall 2015. Presented research at the NEURON conference at Quinnipiac University in Spring 2016 and 2017, WRD in Spring 2016, Society for Neuroscience in 2016, and to the freshman seminar as part of Advanced Senior Research Project in 2016. Part-time jobs at Brookfield Animal Hospital working as a veterinary assistant (2014- present), on-campus jobs in the Biology department as a lab animal assistant taking care of lab mice (Fall 2015- present) and a lab assistant setting up General Biology I labs (Fall 2016-present)
INTERNSHIPS: Connecticut’s Beardsley Zoo for 10 weeks (summer 2015) in the animal care department. Currently volunteer at Green Chimneys taking care of horses and donkeys and assisting in therapeutic riding classes for students (September 2016-present), UPenn Summer Veterinary Exploration Through Science (VETS) Program (2017)
Honors and Awards: Dean’s List four semesters, Biology Department’s Kanungo award recipient for 2017, graduating cum laude
After high school, Heather Rosenblatt found out that sometimes getting what you need instead of what you want actually turns out to be a good thing. "I did not expect myself to come to Western Connecticut State University at all," she says. "Growing up in the next town over, I initially wanted to leave Connecticut right after high school. Due to financial circumstances, it was clear that commuting to WestConn was the smartest choice. Sometimes things don’t work out exactly as you planned, but it can be for the better. I developed close connections with my professors, received a high-level education, and had opportunities to expand my education in ways that would have been difficult at other institutions. I particularly liked the small classroom size that enabled me to talk to my professors and form close relationships."
Rosenblatt says majoring in biology was an obvious choice. "As cliché as it sounds, I can’t remember a time I wasn’t absolutely obsessed with animals. Even though I didn’t have pets growing up (but relentlessly begged), I was fascinated by all animals and formed strong bonds with every form of life I came across. I developed many interests from a young age: helping both animals and people, and science, of course. I flip-flopped between wanting to be a doctor and working with animals. After interning at an animal hospital in high school, I knew the veterinary field was the right choice for me. It combined my skills and passions into one career: working with animals, communicating with people and being in the scientific field. Logically, I chose a major in biology that would put me on the path to becoming a veterinarian."
Once at Western, Rosenblatt had an ample supply of mentors. "The members of the biology department are incredibly supportive and push you to do your best. I approached Dr. Joshua Cordeira on a whim as a sophomore who gave me the opportunity to do a Student Independent Study (SIS) when I became a junior. I enjoyed the research I was doing, and have been doing it ever since! Dr. Cordeira has guided me through the entire experience, opened new doors for me, and is always there if I need to talk. In the short time Dr. Kristin Giamanco has been here, she has been approachable and I was always comfortable asking her questions or chatting about life. There are too many professors to name who have been supportive and encouraging of me, and I am so grateful."
Asked what she will remember most about her Western experience, Rosenblatt says, "I had the amazing opportunity to take a trip to San Diego to present research at the Society for Neuroscience Conference in 2016. While the sunny California weather was a plus in November, it was invigorating being surrounded by thousands (literally, 35,000+!) of scientists in the neuroscience field. Being an undergraduate student in a small lab definitely made me feel small, but it opened my eyes to what an incredibly diverse field neuroscience is. My lab-mates and I became good friends and it made it one trip to remember."
Rosenblatt says she's applying to veterinary schools this summer and plans on attending in 2018. "During my gap year, I’ll be working in an animal hospital and traveling. I have a trip planned to South Africa this summer, interning on a game reserve with a wildlife vet. I want to take a trip to Thailand, too, and work with elephants. I also want to take some time and relax!"
Rosenblatt’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: "Get involved early and work hard. There are opportunities waiting, but you must play your part and find them. One opportunity can lead to the next so make sure you start early! You never know what you will find yourself doing. Be sure to take advantage of the small class size to form close relationships with your professors. They are great resources and can help you find ways to reach your career goals. Lastly, remember that grades aren’t everything. Having good grades helps, but it’s not the end of the world if they’re not perfect. It’s the connections that you make and the activities that you’re involved in that make you stand out."