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I graduated from Fredonia in 2012 with a B.S. in Molecular Genetics and a minor in Chemistry, and am currently a PhD student in the Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Studies Program at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. The most important part of my education at Fredonia was definitely the two years I spent researching Alicia Watsonprotein-mRNA interactions during oogenesis in Drosophila melanogaster in Dr. Scott Ferguson's lab. I also performed research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine Gene Therapy summer research program after applying for and receiving an REU fellowship.

While it's one thing to read about science in a textbook, or learn about it in lectures, nothing compares to having the opportunity to actually conduct your own research. It's not like labs you do for class-- there is
no "right" answer, no known endpoint or outcome. You design your own experiments to answer an unknown. There's nothing more satisfying than knowing that when you see your result, that is the first time anyone has ever seen it. You're not reading about the cutting edge of science--you're right there, blazing the path.

While you can conduct research at most any university, what makes the research environment at Fredonia special is the environment. Everyone in the Ferguson lab was like my second family. We would study together, spend late nights in the lab together, and go out on the weekends together. When someone had a great success, we all did. Every time one of us got accepted into a graduate program or medical school, you could count on someone baking cupcakes or decorating the lab, and everyone coming together to
celebrate. Even though many of us graduated and are now scattered about at graduate and medical schools throughout New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, we're all still very close, and will continue to be for years to come. I wouldn't trade my time spent in Dr. Ferguson's lab for anything. It gave me not only the knowledge and experience necessary to get into one of the top biomedical research graduate programs in the country, but also a sense of close comradery I know I would not have had at any other university.

Alicia Watson
B.S. in Molecular Genetics, Class of 2012
Ph.D. student, Interdisciplinary Biomedical Graduate Studies, University of Pittsburgh

Biology Department

  • 221 Science Center State University of New York at Fredonia Fredonia, NY 14063

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