Alumni Profile

Biology Alumni

Amanda Costa

Graduate Student, Dartmouth College

What do you appreciate most about St. Mike’s?

The St. Michael's College professors really care about you, and not just when you need help in class as a current student, they care about your future. They want to know what your career goals are and how they can help you get internships and the professional experience you need.

What are you doing now?

I am a first year graduate student at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. This involves taking classes and doing research rotations to find a thesis lab. I am training to be a cancer tumor immunologist. I have been working with animal models of melanoma and ovarian cancer. Working with animal models of these diseases is the best way to study the immune response, so that hopefully we have a better understanding of how to treat patients.

How have your experiences at St. Mike’s applied to your professional life?

The professors in the biology department always reassured us that we were scientists. You don't have to have a degree in biology or chemistry to be a scientist. It is all about the way you are thinking, and sometimes you need to change the way you are thinking in order to solve a problem. I still think about this wisdom when I am working in graduate school. Sometimes you need to change your methodology or your approach to solve a problem, but there is always a way to find the answers you need.

What do you like about St. Mike’s location?

St. Mike's is very close to downtown Burlington, which is a city full of culture. There is always something going on whether it is a music festival, art show, or theater performance. Of course, there are also great restaurants and unique shops on Church Street that you can explore. I also really appreciated the free public transportation (with my St. Mike's ID) during my first year when I did not have a car. My favorite time to be on campus is in May when all of the tulips are in bloom!

What was your favorite professor or class at St. Mike’s?

I don't know if I can pick a favorite biology course, but it is probably a tie between Cell Biology and Microbiology. The most helpful class was a biology course in understanding the scientific literature. It was focused on interpreting data and evaluating the methods used in research papers. Professor Lubkowitz, Professor Lippert, and Professor Bozzone were all great mentors to me.

What advice would you give to new students?

 If you work hard you can truly do great things at St. Mike's, and beyond.

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