Young alums help celebrate women in science

February 11 marked International Day of Women and Girls in Science and Tri Beta, a biology honorary society at Heidelberg, celebrated accordingly with a professional development series focused on female alumni in the science field. 

Alumni Melanie Cohn ’19, Rachel Raimondo ’18,  and Bri Casement ’20 joined a virtual panel with biology professor Dr. Pam Faber, Tri Beta President senior Christina Mealwitz and 11 other Heidelberg students studying science. 

Cohn graduated with a degree in Chemistry and Environmental Science. She is currently studying Marine Microbiology at the University of North Carolina. When recalling her experience at Heidelberg, she explained that “if I hadn’t taken the class that took me to Belize, then I wouldn’t be where I am at today, studying marine biology.” In elementary school she envisioned herself as an engineer. During her first year at Heidelberg she was studying to be a chemist and now she is accomplishing the dream of a girl who grew up on the farmlands learning about the wonders of the seas. 

Raimondo is currently attending Lake Erie College while studying medicine and working on research for autism. She attributes her great success to the opportunities that a small school like Heidelberg is able to provide. “The cadaver lab is huge because when I went to medical school, no one knew how to dissect anything and I did,” she said. “Most everyone came from big schools and they aren’t able to get that kind of experience. It really helped me to stand out among those other students, especially when applying for grad school.” 

Casement graduated last May with her degree in Biology and Environmental Science. She is currently taking a year off while applying for grad school and working as a substitute teacher. “The really strong connections with professors, specifically Amy Berger” were a main aspect of Heidelberg that has helped her prepare for the future. One of her favorite classes during undergrad was Animal Behavior, as she was able to come up with her own project. 

All three alumni provided helpful advice to younger women studying science and deciding what next steps to take for their future career paths. One of the main pieces of advice is to take advantage of the help of your professors and their experience and knowledge. Raimondo said that she was in all of her professors’ offices because they will be honest and help you to realize realistic goals. 

Mealwitz ended the program with her own words of wisdom “Take advantage of being able to take academic trips, and participate in classes such as the cadaver lab. Being such a small school we have a lot of opportunities that bigger schools aren’t able to offer.”

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