Biology Students and Graduates

Biology Students

Hillary Nna '22

Aspiring neuroscientist and community leader

Hillary came to FSU from Mt. Wachusett Community College and quickly became an active member of the community. She was a supplemental instructor, a peer mentor, and a member of the student government. She also served as the student member of the FSU Board of Trustees. Hillary completed two research internships, one at Tufts and one at UMASS Chan Medical School. After graduation Hillary will begin graduate school to earn a doctorate in Neuroscience.

Gabrielle Cochrane '20

Zoo internship

"Over the summer I had the opportunity to intern at the Southwick Zoo's Bird Husbandry and Enrichment Department. I learned about parrot behavior, anatomy, health, husbandry, enrichment, and training. During my time here I was able to pick a bird to have a training project with. This bird was Jolly the military macaw. My projects this summer were to train him to walk to either side of a table and recycle a bottle, voluntary stethoscope behavior, and to work on a redirection of aggressive behavior that had been heavily reinforced before Jolly joined the zoo."

Shirley Amunya '17

Research in protein engineering

"This summer I did research at College of the Holy Cross. My research was focused on protein splicing of salt-dependent inteins from Haloquadratum walsbyi (Hwa), a known halophile. Because protein structure and functionality is influenced by extreme environmental conditions, we were interested in observing this post-translational process in an environment with high salinity. Little information is known about protein splicing and this study provides a base for understanding the inteins found in Hwa."

Valerie Leger '17

A new test for lead exposure

"This summer I worked in the Health Equity Research Lab at San Francisco State University. I developed a protocol to use human hair as a biospecimen to test for lead exposure using microwave plasma-atomic emission spectrometry (MP-AES). This protocol will be used for future projects aimed at determining trends in lead exposure in the Bay Area."

Ryan Hanscom '17

A field study of turtle species

"I spent my summer working at Nags Head Woods Ecological Preserve in Kill Devil Hills, NC, collecting data for a mark-recapture study to analyze populations of turtle species in one of the largest remaining maritime forests on the East Coast. I also participated in education and outreach by leading guided hikes and presentations for visitors."

Biology Graduates

Chelsea Steinbrecher-Hoffman '18

Wildlife biologist

Chelsea Steinbrecher-Hoffmann got her start in science at Front Range Community College in Fort Collins, Colorado, where she earned an Associate of Science degree in 2008. Chelsea then joined the U.S. Marine Corps and served as a broadcast journalist and public affairs specialist in Okinawa, Japan, from 2008 to 2012. After her discharge from the military, Chelsea came to FSU where she found her passion for birds and field work. She graduated from FSU in 2018 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and a minor in Communication. In August 2018 Chelsea became a General Biologist with the Bird Banding Laboratory at the USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, now part of the Eastern Ecological Science Center.

Jarin Snyder '16

Doctoral program in biomedical sciences

"After graduating in '16, I matriculated to the Pathway to Graduate Study Program at UMass Medical School's Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. This program is essentially a one-year trial of first-year PhD coursework along with a year-long rotation in a research laboratory, with the option of continuing my PhD studies at the end of the year. Currently I'm working in Dr. Hong Zhang's lab, researching the molecular connections between microRNAs, tumor suppressor proteins, cancer, and aging. I credit the wonderful faculty at FSU for helping me develop my passion for the biology of aging into a career in science!"

Alfredo Rojas '15

Clinical lab analyst

"I'm a Biomarker Lab Coordinator at SBH Sciences. I work with immunoassays to analyze how drugs undergoing clinical trials affect the level of patients' inflammatory markers."

Cesar Sanchez
Cesar Sanchez '14

Medical school

"I graduated from FSU in 2014. In 2015, I enrolled in the M.D. program at Ross University School of Medicine. My academic foundations built at FSU has allowed me to succeed in this program. I am currently finishing my second year of medical school and getting ready to start hospital rotations for the next 2 years."


Cassandra Ferragamo '14

Physician assistant program

"After graduating from FSU in 2014, I began working at Harvard Vanguard Medical Associates in Somerville as a Medical Assistant. Today, I am enrolled in the physician assistant (PA) program at MCPHS University-Boston and will graduate in May 2019. My experience at FSU and as a Medical Assistant prepared me well for PA school and I can't wait to be a healthcare provider! PAs are the future of healthcare!"

Jes Barbagallo '14

Genomic analyst

After graduating from Framingham State's Biology program, Jessica began working at the Broad Institute's Genomics Platform. There, she learned about NextGen sequencing technology and its applications in personalized medicine and research. Jessica now works at the Broad Institute's Clinical Research Sequencing Platform (CRSP), where she performs molecular testing and genomic analysis for use in clinical settings or clinical trials, while pursuing her Master's of Bioinformatics through Johns Hopkins University. Photo: WBUR.

Rachael Cooper '13

A nursing career in public health

After graduation from FSU Rachael earned a Master of Public Health degree and an RN. She worked as a COVID pandemic first responder in NYC for two years. Then she became a traveling nurse, providing medical assistance to populations and health care facilities in need. Rachael is currently with the Indian Health Service in Bethel, Alaska, working as an ER nurse and supporting mobile clinics in rural villages. The hospital serves 58 villages in an area the size of Oregon. She continues to work virtually with the Dominican Women's Development Center in Manhattan.

Leigh Kumpe '13


After graduating from FSU, Leigh parlayed a summer camp job at Busch Gardens into a full-time position in the park’s zoo education program. About a year and a half later, she accepted a position at Disney’s massive 580-acre Animal Kingdom theme park, where she helps feed, train and care for lions, gazelles, ostriches, antelopes, warthogs and more. “It’s exciting and can definitely get your heart rate up," she says.