Caitlin Collins ’15 Named Biology Department’s 2015 Outstanding Student

April 28, 2015

In recognition of outstanding academic achievement, Caitlin Collins ’15 has been named the Stonehill College Biology Department’s 2015 Outstanding Student.

A biology major from Willimantic, Connecticut, Collins has demonstrated a commitment to scholarship that exemplifies the habits of mind that Stonehill seeks to help students cultivate.

“It is my great honor to present this award to Caitlin,” says Rachel Hirst, assistant professor of biology. “I have been fortunate to interact with her in several capacities since she started here at Stonehill and have been able to witness her transformation into a confident, talented scientist and aspiring doctor.”

“Her work ethic and focus are like none I have ever seen. In every instance that I have worked with Caitlin, the product has been outstanding,” adds Hirst.

Collins, who will graduate with a minor in psychology, held a research assistant position at Butler Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, during her junior year. A paper she co-authored on her research at the hospital was recently accepted for publication in the Journal of Psychiatric Practice.

Collins also served as a guide to students following in her footsteps at Stonehill. She worked with Hirst in the summer of 2014 to mentor students transferring into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs at the College. At the same time, she was performing research that would support her senior thesis, “Analysis of Lignin and Bisphenol A Degradation Abilities in a Potential Novel Species of Methylobacterium.”

Collins was offered a full-time position as a medical scribe in the emergency department at Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton, Massachusetts, where she is currently an intern. She is finalizing her medical school applications for the 2016-2017 admission cycle.

“They loved her so much [at Good Samaritan] that they asked her to stay,” says Hirst. “I can honestly say that if 10 years from now Caitlin walked into the emergency room as my doctor, I would be relieved because I would be certain that I was in the best hands possible.”

Selected Activities and Achievements

  • Merck Index Award for outstanding performance in the second year of chemistry
  • Inducted into the Lambda Epsilon Sigma Honor Society
  • Inducted into the Psi Chi Honor Society (psychology)
  • Inducted into the Alpha Rho Chapter of Sigma Zeta Honor Society (biology)
  • First author on poster presented at the Eastern Psychological Association (EPA) Conference in March 2014
  • First author on poster presented at the MassMyco Meeting at Harvard Forest in October 2014
  • Commuter representative on the Stonehill College Class of 2015 Committee
  • Member of Habitat for Humanity
  • Worked as a kennel attendant at Randolph Animal Hospital before shifting focus from veterinary school to medical school