Prior to starting at Stonehill, I had planned to go to medical school as most biology majors entering their freshman year of college do. As a sophomore, I took an endocrinology class and was introduced to a professor who would literally change my life. It was in this class that I, along with the other members of my class, conducted a research project from start to finish and presented our results at a regional scientific conference in New York. Not only was this my first exposure to research, it was the first time I had realized there were other opportunities, aside from medical school, for a student in the sciences.
This was the same year (2006) that the Neuroscience program was established at the school and I immediately switched my major. The professor of that endocrinology course, Dr. Sharon Ramos-Goyette, became my adviser.
At that point, little research was being done on campus. However, Professor Ramos-Goyette worked tirelessly to find opportunities to expose me to research. In addition to the research experience gained from my endocrinology class, I was a research assistant at the VA Medical Center in Brockton for three semesters, I interned at Boston College in a cognitive neuroscience lab and I conducted an individual directed research project my senior year. With Professor Ramos-Goyette’s encouragement, support and enthusiasm, not only did I develop a passion for research but I gained confidence in my scientific ability through the opportunities she provided me with and these experiences led me to pursue graduate school.
In fall 2009, I enrolled in the dual-degree Molecular Pharmacology and Toxicology (PhD) and Management of Drug Development (MS) program at the University of Southern California and was awarded the Dean’s Fellowship.
It wasn’t until I was enrolled in this program that I realized what a unique opportunity I had been given at Stonehill. I realized, despite coming from a relatively small liberal arts school, I was as prepared, if not more prepared, than most students coming from a large research university because of the individual mentoring I got in addition to the research experience, and that set me apart from everyone else. I am confident, that without my experiences and relationships formed at Stonehill, I would not be where I am today.”
Megan Yardley ’09 is a Ph.D. candidate at University of Southern California, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She is also director of Graduate Student Government-Health Science Campus.