Text Resize

Meet Carissa, May 2019 Alum

Meet Carissa, May 2019 Alum

In May 2019, I graduated with a degree in molecular biology and mathematics. After graduation, I began working full time in a histology lab at Aurora Health Care. My long-term plan is to earn a PhD in bio-chemistry with a focus on disease research.

This isn't the path I could have predicted. I didn't even like science in high school, but during my senior year, my grandma was diagnosed with cancer. I became interested in biology and how I could make a difference for patients with cancer.

Being at a women's college has built my confidence, and taking liberal arts classes helped me discover a love for math, which led to my adding a second major. Pursuing a career in math or science isn't always easy for women. It's hard to maintain your confidence as you enter the upper level classes.

Alverno professors do a really good job of acknowledging that although the subject matter is difficult, we can handle it. My professors encouraged me to present my internship research at the Nebraska Conference for Undergraduate Women in Mathematics and the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM in Washington, D.C. These opportunities enhanced my communications skills, boosted my confidence and helped prepare me for my career as a researcher.

I also had experiences through Alverno that helped me grow personally. I was part of a science and math mentoring program and ran cross country. I participated in Circle K, a student group that provides volunteer opportunities throughout Milwaukee, and I took part in short-term study abroad programs in the Baltic States and China.

Without the scholarships I received, I'm not sure how I could have paid for my final year at Alverno. Scholarships allowed me to continue my education and pursue a field of study I love. I really appreciate the support that has allowed me to receive my education at such a wonderful school.