Hometown: Southbury, Conn.
Major: Chemistry/Biochemistry, Spanish
WCSU DegreeS: Dual Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry/Biochemistry and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish
Activities: IMPACT, Peer-to-Peer Mentor, Chemistry Club secretary and president, Sigma Delta Pi vice president and president, PASS tutor, residence hall secretary, Institutional Review Board, Orientation Committee, Arts and Sciences Student Ambassador, supplementary instructor and lab assistant in the chemistry department, work part time at ATMI in Danbury
Internships: Advanced Technology Materials Inc. (ATMI) as a formulations chemist, generating solutions to clean microelectronic and logic devices for technology-driven customers
Honors and Awards: Dean's List, 3.92 GPA, Henry Barnard Outstanding Student Award, Isabelle Farrington Scholarship, Capitol Scholarship, Jason Hancock Scholarship, WCSU Foundation Award, WCSU President's Award, General Chemistry Student of the Year Award, Carey Industries Scholarship
Brittany Serke has always loved science. So much so that when it came time to declare a major, she chose more than one. "Chemistry and biochemistry can be applied to anything, and at the time I didn't know what sub-discipline I wanted to go into," she says. "I love to be challenged and in the chemistry department I am never bored -- there's always something to learn."
You'd think a dual major in two sciences would be enough to keep any student challenged, but Serke added a third major to the mix. "Spanish is a fascinating language. It's so diverse, and learning about different cultures has allowed me to connect with other people and to communicate with others without a barrier," she explains.
With obvious aptitude and amibitions like these, Serke probably could have studied anywhere. "I decided to come to WestConn because it was close to home, affordable and still had the feel of a private institution," she says. "I liked how there's always something new happening at WestConn ... new buildings, new classes, new clubs, new opportunities."
Clearly a very driven student, Serke gives some of the credit to her instructors. "Any one of my professors in the chemistry or Spanish departments has been a mentor to me. I have spent more time with them than my own family! We have built a working relationship and a friendship together, which is just as important. They have seen me through the ups and downs, the successes and failures, and have supported me through it all. They want to see me succeed and get me excited about what I am learning."
Asked what she will remember most about her WestConn experience, Serke says, “My study-abroad experiences in Spain and Puerto Rico were unforgettable. I went to so many places, saw all of the sights, and learned about the cultures and history. I am so grateful to have experienced more at my age than some people have in their entire lifetime. The Wizards of Chemistry show we performed in the chemistry department was also memorable. It was a magic show that we put on for the community. It was a great feeling to get kids excited about science.”
After graduation, Serke plans to attend graduate school at the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry to pursue a Ph.D. in molecular toxicology and environmental medicine.
Serke’s advice to new students entering WCSU is: “Pursue not only what you are passionate about, but also a discipline where you can successfully find a job. WCSU is what you make of it. Go to class, work hard, study hard, play hard and make some connections!”