Previous Student Spotlight

Olivia Kelly Sosnoski

Sosnoski enrolled at WCSU as a Biology/Pre-Med major. She applied for and received financial aid, commuted from her grandmother’s house and worked the entire time she was in school. She also found time to join the WCSU Women’s Volleyball Team and Swimming & Diving Team, where she loved the camaraderie with her coach and teammates. What she enjoyed even more was getting patient care experience as an undergraduate.

Sosnoski said that opportunities like the one at Yale, coupled with the support of the WCSU Biology Department, made a major impact on her studies. “The small student-to-faculty ratio at WCSU was highly influential in my success,” she said. “I was always asking questions, utilizing the faculty office hours. The resources and knowledge in that department are amazing and surprisingly underrated. So many professors just go out of their way to be encouraging and make you feel supported.”

After graduating in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Biology, Sosnoski re-enrolled as a graduate student in WCSU’s Master of Science in Addiction Studies program, from which she graduated in 2021. She was hired by Bristol Myers Squib as a Clinical Research Coordinator conducting leukemia research at Yale New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Hospital.

Now in her first semester of medical school, Sosnoski said courses like “Molecular Basis of Disease” that she took at WCSU totally prepared her. “The genetics and cell biology I had as an undergraduate student are areas I am able to review now as opposed to learning about them for the first time,” she said.

Full Article (here)

Charlee Cordle

My name is Charlee Cordle, and I am a senior here at WCSU studying Biology. I had the exciting opportunity of going to Greece this summer to learn about the history of Macedon and Thrace! We visited countless museums, theaters, and sanctuaries, hearing from experienced guest speakers in addition to the expertise of the trip leaders. It was astonishing to visit the burial mounds of Phillip II of Macedon (although there’s speculation that it was Phillip III) at the Museum of the Royal tombs of Aigai and the exorbitant wealth that royalty and upper-class citizens were honored with in the afterlife. I also loved visiting the marble quarries on Thasos and how this marble was coveted because the larger-sized crystals gave it a shinier appearance. The Wiener Lab at the American School of Classical Studies was particularly interesting to me as a biologist because of the work that they’re doing to explore the skeletal remains, fauna, ceramics, and geography of ancient Greece. This experience broadened my horizons as a person as well as professionally and increased my appreciation of the cradle of Western Civilization!

John Michael has received funding from the Diamondback Terrapin Working Group (DTWG) towards his field research. In the application pool only forty percent of the applicants were funded this round. This is a huge win for John Michael and the herpetology lab.

Our very own undergraduate student and Highstead Ecology Intern, Danielle Weiss, shares her thoughts on the value of internships and conservation research. In her own words, she says:

As a Highstead ecology intern, my day typically lasts from 9 am to 5 pm, and I start by going out into the field with [Senior Ecologist] Ed Faison, or just myself around 9:15, once I have everything packed and ready to go. Each day the goal is to go to two of the plots here at Highstead and identify every tree, shrub, seedling, and herb. To do this, I have to set up measuring tapes around the entire plot border and then set up two cross-sections. Within the plot, the goal is to identify all of the species and measure the tree’s diameter, come up with a percent coverage for the shrubs, seedlings, and herbs, and measure any woody debris on the diagonal cross-sections of the plot. After being out in the field, I come back to the barn and enter data. When I have some extra time I like to update the species identification list I created to help me out when I survey alone.

Danielle Weiss

Congratulations to WCSU Biology undergraduate students Emily Hoegler, Jacob Bethin, and Molly McMahon, and to WCSU Biology MS student Kelly Nealon, whose excellence in student research was recognized at yesterday’s Western Research Day (WRD) awards ceremony. These students were each awarded the Provost’s Prize for outstanding WRD research presentations, and Emily and Jacob also each received the WCSU Sigma Xi Chapter’s Student Research Award! WAY TO GO! We also extend hearty congrats to ALL the biology students who presented their research projects this week at WRD. We know WCSU Biology students are great, and it makes us so proud to see them represented and recognized beyond the walls of the Science Building. Great job, everyone! We look forward to seeing what you do next

Emily Hoegler 

BS Biology

Jacob Bethin

BS Biology

Molly McMahon

BS Biology

Kelly Nealon

MS Integrated Biological Diversity