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Biology Alumni Profiles
Brittney Semone Print

SemoneI graduated from West Chester University in the Fall of 2014 with a BS in Biology (Ecology and Conservation). During the many field courses taken at WCU I developed a strong admiration for the outdoors.  Since graduating I have worked with invasive plant species in California, threatened desert tortoises in Nevada, and forest conditions and dynamics in Alaska. Working as a field technician has allowed me to live and work in places I never imagined to find myself.  I started my journey as an Invasive Plant Treatment Technician with the Nevada Conservation Corps and AmeriCorps. I worked on a crew collecting data and eradicating the invasive tree species, Tamarisk, on the Amargosa River in California. I later worked with AmeriCorps and The Great Basin Institute as a Desert Tortoise Monitoring Technician in the Mojave Desert of Southern Nevada. As monitoring technicians, our crew worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to perform line distance sampling, handling, and tagging of the desert tortoise, Gopherus agassizii, to monitor long term population trends. Following work in the desert I then worked in the Alaska Interior as a Forestry Field Assistant with the University of Alaska Fairbanks. We measured tree growth and took general vegetation surveys and soil samples. Studying Ecology and Conservation at WCU has exposed me to field work and techniques during outdoor labs and has lead to a career of field work and memorable experiences.
 
Scott Musser Print

musserI graduated from West Chester University in December of 2015 with a B.S. in Biology (Ecology and Conservation) and a minor in Geography. In March of 2016 I began working at Kennett Square Golf and Country Club as an Ecology Intern. I began by working on a stream restoration project and by completing basic golf course tasks such as raking bunkers. I quickly worked my way up and now have responsibilities including: mowing and hand watering greens, changing hole locations, and measuring green speeds. I was tasked with the job of turning a previously mown area into a meadow in the middle of July and succeeded based on knowledge that I gained from ecology courses here at West Chester University. It has now been 5 months since I began this job and I have already been promoted to the Assistant Superintendent in training. I am now taking classes at Penn State University to obtain a Certificate in Turfgrass Management. By achieving this I will be able to become a Certified Golf Course Superintendent. I am very proud to be a West Chester University Alumni. I wear my WCU hat to work every day and I am quick to inform everyone on how outstanding our biology department is. I would not have been able to achieve any of this without the help of my ecology professors, and for that I am very thankful.
 
Carly Farrell Print

FarrellI graduated from West Chester University in May 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology (Cell and Molecular Biology) and a Chemistry minor. During the fall of my senior year, I volunteered with in the laboratories of Drs. Phares and Gestl. In the spring I completed independent research with Dr. Phares. Our project focused on isolating a particular genetic sequence, conopressin (mammalian homologs oxytocin/vasopressin), in a species of gastropods, Helisoma trivolvis. I performed genetic amplification and sequencing in order to isolate the gene. I gained extensive, valuable experience working in the lab, and I enjoyed my experience so much that I accepted my first job as a Research Specialist at the Medical University of South Carolina performing breast and oral cancer research. I am now a technician in the pediatric ED at the same hospital, and am entering Physician Assistant school this fall.  West Chester University provided a great foundation for my chosen path in medicine.
 
Nikita Panov Print

PanovI graduated from West Chester University in 2015 with a B.S. in Biology. Since graduating, I have been pursuing a PhD in Biochemistry at the City University of New York. In addition, I am employed as an industrial microbiology consultant for a water-treatment company based out of Irving, Texas. This exciting work has taken me onto skyscrapers roofs across NYC testing for pathogenic Legionella bacterial strains in building HVAC systems. My experience at West Chester University was invaluable to my post-graduate training and success. The professors in the biology and chemistry departments in particular made a strong impact on my academic and personal development. As part of my time at West Chester, I carried out research in the laboratory of Dr. Pisciotta where we investigated ways to employ microbes for human benefit. WCU faculty guidance and mentoring truly set me up for a successful transition into my post-graduate endeavors.
 
Brett Mitchell Print

MitchellI graduated from West Chester University in the spring of 2016 with a B.S. in Biology (Integrative Concentration) and a minor in Chemistry.  I will be attending Bay Path University in June of 2016 pursuing a Master’s degree in Physician Assistant Studies.  As a West Chester student, I was highly involved with the biology department, as well as volunteering for the community as an Emergency Medical Technician for Good Fellowship Ambulance Club.  One of my proudest accomplishments at West Chester was completing independent research for the department with my advisor.  We studied learning and memory of respiratory behavior in Helisoma trivolvis.  My experiences at West Chester University have molded my outlook on biology, healthcare, and overall success.  I am proud to consider myself a West Chester University alumni and am excited to see what the future holds!  
 
Joe Komar Print

KomarI graduated from WCU in December 2003 with a BSED in Biology.  I began teaching at Downingtown East High School (DEHS) during the 2004-2005 school year and will be starting my 13th year this August.  Along the way, I earned a Master’s degree in Education from Cabrini in 2010 and also obtained a K-12 principal certification during the same year.  In addition to teaching Honors Biology I and Anatomy & Physiology at DEHS, I also run a part-time tutoring business that prepares students for the ACT and SAT in order to enhance their chances of gaining admission to a desired college/university.  I am so grateful for the time I spent at WCU as well as the knowledge and commitment of my professors and mentors, especially Drs. Mbuy and Began.  Dr. Mbuy was my most fascinating and challenging professor, and I remember his Microbiology and Virology lectures as if they happened yesterday. “Gus” showed me how to be an expert scientist, teacher/prof, and friend all at the same time.  I must say that education has become a bigger passion than I ever expected and if it wasn’t for Dr. Began I may have never entered such a wonderful career.  Due to my experience at WCU and the great mentors I encountered during my tenure at Downingtown, I have become a quality educator, and was lucky enough to be honored as the Teacher of the Year at DEHS in 2015.
 
Steve Broome Print

Broome

I graduated from West Chester University in 2014 with a B.S. in Biology (concentrating in Cellular and Molecular Biology) and a minor in Chemistry. Following graduation, I worked as a summer intern for GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) biological mass spectrometry and proteomics group.  I was amazed by the powerful ability of high resolution mass spectrometers to quickly identify and quantitate entire proteomes. After the summer internship, I was granted further employment with GSK for over a year. I am now employed by a small company called Biopharmaspec, where I characterize biopharmaceuticals using high resolution mass spectrometry and other techniques, work I find challenging and rewarding.  My education at West Chester University gave me the scientific foundation I needed to easily transition into the field of biological mass spectrometry. The scientific education, hands-on lab experience, and independent research experience I received at were crucial for my ability to discover and work in a field I enjoy.

 
Renee Kojanis Print

Renee Kojanis
I graduated from West Chester University in 2012 with a B.S. in Biology. For the past four years, I have studied at New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) and will be graduating in May 2016 as valedictorian of my class, becoming a Doctor of Dental Surgery. I will continue my dental education starting July 2016 at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine to complete a residency in Orthodontics. While at West Chester University, I performed research with Dr. Woodruff, working with Drosophila melanogaster oocytes. Starting research at West Chester University served as the impetus that directed me down a path of research at NYUCD with CTOR (Consortium for Translational Orthodontic Research). With CTOR, I examined maxillary expansion in rats, a topic that I presented at various conventions and organizations across the country. My research and education at West Chester University provided me with the foundation for what I have achieved to date, and what I will continue to achieve in the future.
 
Greg Barren Print

Greg BarrenI graduated from West Chester University in 2013 with a B.S. in Biology (Ecology and Conservation).  I recently graduated from Western Kentucky University with a M.S. in Biology and I am currently working seasonally for the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia as a field technician.  My experience at West Chester has helped me achieve my academic goals and helped me come closer to my career goal in the ecology field.  All of my professors at West Chester were very passionate about their courses and effectively taught both concepts and laboratory methods in various biology concentrations.  In addition to classroom work, I was also lucky enough to do independent research with my advisor.  Independent research was a great way to gain hands-on experience in the ecology field.  Professors also invested time in helping students outside of the classroom.  For example, they help students find jobs and internships by emailing opportunities to a biology student email list.  I still check my West Chester email often to check for job opportunities.  I had a great experience at West Chester University and feel prepared for a career in the field of ecology.
 
Jessica Bondy Print

Jessica BondyI graduated from West Chester University in the Spring of 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology (Microbiology Concentration). While at West Chester, I was a student research assistant in Dr. Fan's laboratory and studied the pathologic effects of the Haemophilus influenzae bacteria in mice. My experiences in research at WCU and training in animal handling techniques gave me the exposure necessary to further my career. I now work as a Research Coordinator/Technologist at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Department of Otolaryngology working on Head and Neck Cancer Research.  I plan to return back to school to pursue a medical degree to become a physician.

 
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