It is always inspiring and advantageous to hear about what alumni of the Department of Chemistry and Physics are up to and how they got there. This week I got a chance to speak with alumni Sarah Faulkner who graduated from Emmanuel College in 2015.
First I asked Sarah what she liked most about the sciences at Emmanuel. Sarah said, “Before I made the decision to come to Emmanuel, my dad and I visited the school’s campus. We were wandering around the Wilkens Science Center when a science professor stopped us to ask if we had any questions that he could answer for us. He spent a half an hour chatting with me, asking me about my interests and learning about who I was. That meant so much to me – and that interaction is emblematic of the science department at Emmanuel. In the chemistry, biology, psychology and physics departments, you are not just one of many students; you are an individual with interests and ambitions.”
There are so many things one can do with a Chemistry major. I was curious to know how Sarah decided what she wanted to do with her Chemistry degree after Emmanuel. She replied with, “While I was a student, I spent several summers working in Dr. Gerdon’s undergraduate research lab. As a student researcher, I was given the opportunity to use the skills I learned in class to solve real-world problems. Eventually, my team got to present our research at a conference in San Francisco, and there I discovered that I loved talking to other scientists about their work and the state of science in general. I decided to combine my love for chemistry and my interest in people into a career in science journalism. I graduated with a chemistry degree from Emmanuel in 2015 and one year later, I graduated with a M.S. in science journalism from Boston University.” It is awesome to hear that along with getting her degree at Emmanuel, the experiences that Sarah was able to take part in at Emmanuel also influenced her decision as to what to do after receiving her undergraduate degree.
Currently, Sarah is working as a science reporter where she is writing for a news site that covers the pharmaceutical and medical technology industries. Sarah told stated that, “I look forward to going to work every day. On any given day, I might be interviewing the CEO of a biotech company or covering the latest results from a clinical trial. I’m also teaching an analytical chemistry lab at Emmanuel, which is incredibly rewarding.” After several years away from a chemistry lab, Sarah realized that she missed that lab experience and excitedly went for the opportunity to return to Emmanuel to teach the Analytical Chemistry lab.
Finally, I asked Sarah if she had any advice for the present and future chemistry students of Emmanuel. She wisely replied with, “Things can get pretty stressful as a chemistry student, especially in your senior year when you’re balancing job interviews or graduate school applications with your academic work. Be sure to make time for yourself. When it comes to the post-college world, keep an open mind, work hard and let the good opportunities come to you.”
You can enjoy Sarah’s science writing at Mass Device, where her most recent article is about a company working on an insulin pump for diabetes.
~Written by Brielle Favole ’18