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SMC receives $10 million

Mona Rodriguez | Monday, March 28, 2011

On Saturday, the Biology and Chemistry departments of Saint Mary’s joined the College in “Celebrating the Education of Women in Science” in honor of the 150 years of science instruction at the College. The function was followed by an announcement made by Saint Mary’s President Carol Ann Mooney of a $10 million gift for the renovation of the science building.

The day of celebration was open to the public, prospective Saint Mary’s students interested in the sciences, alumnae, faculty and students. The morning began with 35 graduating seniors showcasing their senior comprehensive posters (comps) in the science building.

“Today was a way to show what we do here at Saint Mary’s. Senior comps are something we do that most other schools don’t, and I see it putting me at an advantage,” Anne Lamb, a senior biology major, said. “When I interviewed for vet school at Ohio State, they were interested specifically in my comp.”

Laura Powell, a senior biology major, titled her comp “Stress Indication: Behavioral, Hematological, and Hormonal Responses of Dogs in the Public Animal Shelter.”

“I feel so much more confident about my research and findings because I was able to discuss my project with so many different people,” Powell said. “It was great to get such positive feedback from faculty, students and parents, and to talk about a project I am so passionate about.”

“Showing a comp was fulfilling and an account of all our hard work,” senior Sharon Ehret said. “To take a step back and see what I’ve done — it’s thanks to Saint Mary’s for helping me get here.”

Ehret researched the effects of circadian rhythms on bitter taste sensitivity.

A panel discussion titled “Life After Senior Comps” gave students an insight on different paths taken after graduation with a science degree from Saint Mary’s and how Saint Mary’s has prepared them for their futures.

“It was very encouraging to see the finished product of Saint Mary’s,” Abby Vrable, a senior biology major, said. “The people who spoke and the women I met today are women I envision myself being [like].”

Dr. Sharon A. Norton, director of Development for the Mathile Institute for the Advancement of Human Nutrition, gave the keynote lecture, “The Making of the Scientist.”

“There’s more to the making of a scientist than science,” Norton said. “Empathy, vision, courage, passion and stewardship are fundamental to the making of a scientist.”

Norton encouraged students to believe empathy and objectivity can and should work together.

Senior biology major Ashley Cook finished with her classes last semester and came back for the day to showcase her comp, “Fish and Coral Surveying off the coast of Little Corn Island, Nicaragua,” and to attend the day’s events.

“I was inspired by all these people who have achieved all these great things. I hope that’s me someday,” Cook said. “It was a great networking day. I received great advice, and this has opened doors preparing for the future.”

After months of keeping the big announcement a secret, President Carol Ann Mooney announced two special gifts to the college — $1 million from alumna Jennifer Mathile Prikkel (’95) and $9 million from Prikkel’s parents, MaryAnn and Clayton Mathile.

“This is the largest single gift in the College’s history, and the money has been donated specifically for science hall renovations,” Mooney said.

“There’s no better way to invest than in the education of women, especially here at Saint Mary’s,” Prikkel said.