Lafayette College prepares students for life after graduation by instilling those skills most in demand by employers and by creating a love of lifelong learning. Because of this, our alumni are sought after by premier businesses, organizations, and graduate schools worldwide.
Alumni who majored in biology continue to find challenging and rewarding work. A sampling of employers who hired recent graduates includes Aerotek, Boston Scientific, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Pfizer, Siemens Medical Solutions Diagnostics, and the U.S. Government. Our alumni also continue to build on their undergraduate studies in leading graduate and medical schools such as Case Western Reserve, Dartmouth, Emory, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and UPenn.
Emily Smith ’08 caught the biology bug at Lafayette and turned it into lifesaving work at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where she is a research fellow in the division of viral hepatitis. Along with her 2011 master’s in public health from Columbia University, Emily uses what she learned at Lafayette to help the most vulnerable among us.
“I focus on mother-to-child hepatitis B transmission, which is largely preventable through vaccination,” Emily says. “A major part of my job is analyzing infant vaccination data reported to CDC and writing up the results. We work hard to connect with health departments and labs who report to CDC and ensure that data are accurate.”
The Marquis and EXCEL scholar’s work contributes to her wider understanding of her division’s emphasis. “Prior to accepting this position, I was not familiar with hepatitis infection in any way. I’m always looking to learn, and was eager to enter a new field—especially one that involved national-level disease prevention.”
Epidemiology isn’t Emily’s only focus. Rugby still draws her, and she serves as the vice president of the Atlanta Harlequins Women’s Rugby Football Club. “I had to work hard academically and put in many hours in at the library, but I also played rugby and had a social life. Lafayette primed me for a healthy amount of work/life balance.”
Marine biologist Diane Mitchell Young ’05 rehabilitated the star of the 2011 movie Dolphin Tale. The film told the inspirational story of Winter, a real-life dolphin with a prosthetic tail.
“People around the world have been inspired by Winter. Veterans, who lost a leg in combat. Children, who didn’t want to wear their hearing aid because they were ashamed they were different,” Young shares.
Young, then director of animal care at Clearwater Marine Aquarium (CMA) in Florida, rehabilitated Winter in the aftermath of the 3-month-old Atlantic bottlenose dolphin’s entanglement in a crab trap. Ultimately, the tail could not be saved. Hanger Orthopedic Group Inc. crafted Winter a prosthetic replacement.
The dolphin’s adjustment to her disability attracted national attention, including from Warner Brothers Pictures/Alcon Entertainment, and a fictionalized film featuring Winter became reality. Meanwhile, Young had moved to the National Aquarium in Baltimore, serving as a marine mammal trainer and environmental enrichment coordinator. She recalls, “I was walking though the mall and saw a poster for the movie. Having lived the experience, it was odd to think of it as a major motion picture.”
Young continued her work with dolphins until recently, voluntarily leaving her post just prior to the birth of her first son with husband Matthew Young ’05.