Four years in Mills’ biology program has led Elizabeth Pyper Newman to the opportunity of a lifetime: after graduating, she will be entering the Integrated PhD program at New York Medical College. Her plan is to work in vaccine development, and while at NY Medical College she will be working with influenza strains that will go into making seasonal vaccines. Not only will Newman be embarking on a journey to follow her dreams in the medical field, but she will also be giving a speech for her commencement ceremony on May 17.
“I have always been fascinated with human biology, especially immunology,” Newman said. “My dad has a chronic autoimmune disorder, so I spent a ton of time in hospitals and soaked it up.”
At first, Newman considered being a doctor; however, that quickly changed after taking immunology courses at Mills.
“It became very clear to me that there are still so many unanswered questions in science, especially related to the complexity of human disease and I wanted to be a part of finding the answers,” Newman said. “I still feel like I am going to be helping people but in a much more ‘behind the scenes‘ capacity. I love research because it challenges me and affords me the opportunity for freedom and ownership in my work.”
According to Newman, Mills’ biology department has been incredibly supportive of her along her journey. She extends particular gratitude towards doctors Helen Walter and Jared Young, both of whom have inspired her through their teachings.
“The biology department at Mills is as supportive as they are brilliant; you bet [that] they will be getting a big thank you from me come May,” Newman said.
Mills has offered Newman the chance to follow her dream of working in medical research and it has also given her fond memories. All the experiences she has had with friends and faculty have left a lasting impact on her life.
“Both my professors and peers in NSB [Natural Sciences Building] have taught me that science works better when as many viewpoints as possible are present and valued,” Newman said. “I am not confident I would have left any other institution with the same sense of empowerment I have gained at Mills.”
The fondest memories she has, however, were spent outside the classroom.
“My fondest memories will be all the late nights spent studying (and procrastinating) in NSB with my besties, especially Camille Kaslan and Alex Toledo,” Newman said.
After what she calls a “stellar” four years at Mills, Newman feels prepared for her future in the world of medical research.
Look out for more profiles of graduating students from the Class of 2014 in our Commencement special issue coming out Tuesday, May 6!
For more graduation-related posts, check out The Campanil‘s designated 2014 Commencement webpage here or click on the “Commencement” link in the upper right hand corner of the header.