Graduating Biology Majors Reflect on Their Time at Molloy

Foreword by Christie Catterson

Reflections by graduating Biology students

I am honored to say that I am one of the Biology students of the graduating class of 2018. When I first met my peers during day one of classes, we all knew that we had a long way to go. Looking back to where we started and realizing we achieved our goals brings on a huge sense of accomplishment. We have come a long way for us to confidently start our prospective professional studies. We have had many professors and mentors who have helped us along the way, catering to our vision of success. I am so grateful for the numerous opportunities Molloy’s Biology program has given to me and I am extremely proud of all of our successes. I am going to miss my peers and more importantly my friends as we embark on the next chapter of our lives. Best of luck, Class of 2018; I have much confidence that we will all achieve our greatest dreams.

christie catterson

Christie Catterson, Amityville, NY

Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, Class of 2022

Why did you choose Molloy?

When I first came to Molloy, I absolutely fell in love with the warm, friendly community. I was able to see myself having a home for the next four years. When I met with then-Vice President for Student Affairs Bob Houlihan, he took the time to walk my mom and me around campus. After that conversation, I was more than excited to attend the following fall.

What is your favorite memory of the Biology program?

I have so many wonderful memories of my time at Molloy and with the Biology program, but one memory that will always stand out in particular was when I was able to compete in the Sigma Xi Conference with six of my research peers. It was a wonderful bonding experience as I was able to present my research from my undergraduate career at a competitive conference. It was also great to spend time with my research group before we all graduated.

Are there any professors that you would like to thank?

The professor that inspired me the most was Dr. Jodi Evans. I will never forget the first day I met her as I was registering for my second semester of classes. In the classroom, she has pushed me academically to always ask why and go beyond the material. As a person, she has inspired me to be hardworking yet humble at whatever task I may take on. I sincerely thank Dr. Evans for being an influential mentor in my undergraduate career. I also want to express my gratitude to Dr. Monaco as she has helped me every step of the way during the application process. Molloy’s BCES program would not be what it is today without the leadership of Dr. Massone, the chairperson, who has been supportive of all of our aspirations.

Carl Rocco Palladino, Lindenhurst, NY

North Eastern Ohio Medical University

What is your favorite memory of the Biology program?

My favorite memory is all the research my group and I did with Dr. Sanz. I am glad that all the hard work we all put in together amounted to something truly special.

Are there any professors that you would like to thank?

I want to give thanks to Dr. Massone, Dr. Sanz, Dr. Monaco and the rest of the BCES faculty for all their help.

meghan mitchell

Meghan Mitchell, Baldwin, NY

SUNY Downstate in Brooklyn – Physician Assistant Program beginning May 29, 2018

Why did you choose Molloy?

The Biology program at Molloy provided opportunities to advance our knowledge in many different aspects of biology. Whether it was through the optional extra-curricular activities or the required courses or events, we were given the chance to obtain the most out of this program with the help of the incredible Biology department here, as evidenced by the number of students moving on to graduate school from our class.

Are there any professors that you would like to thank?

I was lucky enough to have Dr. Maureen Sanz as my advisor from my start at Molloy, who later became one of my professors and then later on my research mentor throughout the duration of my research work here. I can honestly say that without Dr. Sanz’s incredible knowledge and passion about biology as well as her willingness to educate and help made the program worthwhile for me. She became someone who I knew I could go to for anything, program-related or not, and I am very lucky that I was fortunate enough to work with someone like her so closely for so long. I will genuinely miss her as I move on to my next journey in life at Downstate.

Aside from Dr. Sanz, it was always comforting having such a great chairperson (Dr. Massone), who was always willing to listen to the voices of the students in the program and always willing to do what he could to improve the program. Thanks to him, we were all lucky enough to have amazing professors throughout our time here as Biology students.

Jaclyn Kirshbaum, West Islip, NY

Touro College of Dental Medicine

What is your favorite memory of the Biology program?

My favorite memory about the program was presenting my research at the Senior Research Thesis colloquium. It was a very rewarding experience!

Are there any professors that you would like to thank?

I would like to thank all of my teachers and staff that helped me get to where I am today. The science department at Molloy was truly incredible and I am thankful to have crossed paths with many of the faculty at Molloy. I would especially like to thank Dr. Massone, Dr. Kusenda and Lynne Quiroz for their guidance and support through my time here at Molloy College and for going above and beyond in helping me reach my goal of becoming a dentist!

I transferred into Molloy College as a sophomore and it was the best decision I have ever made. The BCES department at Molloy College has incredible faculty that truly prepared me for my next chapter. Thank you again to everyone who has helped me along my journey!

anthony morante

Anthony Morante, West Babylon, NY

Fordham University, Ph.D. in Biological Sciences

What is your favorite memory of the Biology program?

During the spring of my junior year, I was given the opportunity to perform research under Dr. Evans. The Biology program at Molloy requires one semester of research techniques, which involves learning proper research methods and forming ideas about future experiments we could pursue. The Biology track that I am on did not require me to continue to the hands-on research class. However, I was interested in the idea of moving forward. I had always enjoyed working in the laboratory, but this was my first time working on a long-term project. I—as well as the other members of my group—worked very hard and enjoyed our project so much so that we decided we wanted to continue the project over the summer. We were very serious about our research but made sure to have plenty of fun along the way. Our results validated the effort that we put in along the way. All the time we spent at Molloy in the laboratory without taking any classes was the best way to spend the summer vacation.

Are there any professors that you would like to thank?

I would like to thank my professor and research mentor Dr. Evans for all of the help she has given us. She put in countless hours of effort outside of class that was never required of her. She was dedicated to our research project and was with us every day over the summer. She taught us so many techniques that will give us great experience for a future in biology. We learned more through her over the summer than we could have in any class. She was there to help us along every step of the way but gave us enough room to learn for ourselves and learn from our mistakes. All of the effort we put in was because she showed us how to be passionate about our project and to keep pushing forward, even if the results don’t come out as planned.

Before taking the research classes with Dr. Evans, my future plans involved going to some form of medical school. I knew I had liked science and Biology but did not know much about research. Without the chance to work with her, I would have never discovered how much I enjoy research. And I would have never changed my mind to pursue a field in it. But now, here I am, going on to work for my doctorate in Biology.

shane martensen

Shane Martensen, East Islip, New York

Touro College Physician Assistant Program at the Bay Shore campus

What is your favorite memory of the Biology program?

During my senior year I was given the opportunity to participate in a clinical research trial. A small team, made up of students and professors, collected and analyzed data to determine if stress-related hormones and manual therapy play a role in osteoarthritis pain. Being able to work with human participants in a clinical setting was a great experience. Not many colleges can offer this type of opportunity for undergraduates.

Are there any professors that you would like to thank?

I would like to thank Dr. Monaco for her advisement and encouragement throughout the entire physician assistant (PA) application process. With her efforts, I was able to stand out compared to all the other applicants. PA school interviews are grueling, and Dr. Monaco prepared me to be my best.

How did you choose to become a Biology major?

When I was applying for colleges during my senior year of high school, I always enjoyed science and I saw myself working somewhere in the medical field, but I didn’t quite know what I wanted to do. Molloy was the perfect fit for me because they have a lot of different options when it comes to majors that will allow you to excel in the medical field. I did not have a major going into Molloy; I was undecided. I explored many different options, but I chose Pre-Allied Biology because it allowed me be flexible when it came to applying to grad school. Looking back now, I am very happy with my decision in choosing Molloy College and the Biology program. The program challenged and pushed me to be my best, which made me successful. It was a pleasure to have lot of amazing professors, such as Dr. Evans, Dr. Cutter, Dr. Stoski, Dr. Monaco and the late Dr. Belton.

rosemary ritter

Rosemary Ritter, Massapequa, New York

NYIT, Physician Assistant Studies

What is your favorite memory of the Biology program?

My favorite memory from the Molloy College Biology program was the Bio 371 Restoration of the Gulf course that I took my senior year. I was able to spend a week in New Orleans with other Biology majors under the leadership of Dr. Tolvo. The experience allowed me to learn about the science at work in a post-disaster community while restoring the marshes that had been destroyed by storms. It was a great trip where I got to meet new friends and make great memories.

Are there any professors that you would like to thank?

Special thanks to Dr. Cutter for being a great research and life mentor these past four years. Thank you for always having an open door and willing to listen to me vent and look at pictures of puppies.

Anthony Ricigliano, Massapequa, NY

Hofstra University, M.S. in Integrative Biology, Class of 2020

What is your favorite memory of the Biology program?

It’s really tough to pick out just one moment from the four amazing years spent in the Biology department. The entire research track experience, for example, was notable for many different reasons. One part of the research experience that I will always remember fondly was the daily routine my lab group made during the summer portion of our research. Nearly every morning, we would lazily meet in the empty classroom next to the lab, and have a “coffee clutch” as we decided where to steer our research for the day. It was in that bleary-eyed stupor surrounded by friends and working on a project that would soon bring us to the Sigma Xi conference in North Carolina that I realized I hit the jackpot. I was not only doing what I loved, but I was also in fantastic company. Some of our best breakthroughs in the lab were followed by pranks and jokes. It was this effortless mix of challenging science and lighthearted humor that made the 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. days fly by. My lab mates became some of my closest friends and we have had some of the greatest laughs and greatest successes working together.

Are there any professors that you would like to thank?

I am so very lucky to have had the opportunity to work under such dedicated and intelligent professors over the past four years. In many ways each professor deserves his or her own special thanks for inspiring me in such unique ways. I do however give a very special thank you to my mentor, Dr. Jodi Evans. I am truly lucky to be able to call Dr. Evans my mentor. Her dedication, passion, and intelligence are truly remarkable. However, these qualities pale in comparison to her unparalleled ability to inspire students through the perfect mix of challenge and guidance. Had I not joined her lab in my junior year, I can guarantee I would be very unsure of where to take my education and career next. Her tutelage in laboratory techniques and protocols are undoubtedly a valuable asset, however, the greatest thing she has given me is an inflamed passion for the biological sciences. With this passion she has also instilled an ability to think critically and react fluidly both in and out of the laboratory. I owe much of my future success to the brilliant framework created by the hundreds of hours of mentoring from Dr. Evans. There is no truly proper way to say thank you considering how invaluable these experiences were. All I can say is that I promise I will do my best to make her proud!

After four years of experiencing the intricacies of the BCES department, I feel there are two unsung heroes who deserve mentioning: Lynne Quiroz and Dr. Massone. Together, these two create the engine that drives the department forward and allows for the many fantastic experiences we share in the department. It is so plainly evident that these two put nothing less than their heart and soul into the success of the BCES department. I want them to know that the department as a whole is so grateful for all that they do. They’ve been an essential part of my Molloy experience and were instrumental in making it as successful and enjoyable as it was.

New Media Is My Niche

Erin Battaglia typing at laptop

By Erin Battaglia

Author. Maker. Creator. Innovator. There are a million ways to describe the New Media department at Molloy, and the students in the program, but I think those four words tell the story perfectly. Hi, I’m Erin, a sophomore New Media major here at Molloy. I feel like I should give you a little bit of a backstory before I start going on about the New Media program, so stay with me. I have a pretty creative family: my dad is a graphic designer, my sister is an incredible artist, and my mom is more of the brains (don’t tell her I said this, but she lacks the creative genes).

I never really knew where my creativity was rooted, but it would peak out every once in awhile. But when I got into high school, I realized that I loved to write. I had always been an avid reader, but never really gave writing a fair shot. Once I did, I thought I had finally found my creative output — that was until I reached my first year of college. When I came to Molloy, I was an English major. I wanted to pursue a career in writing, whether that ended up being an editor for some big company, or a journalist, I didn’t know nor really care. It wasn’t until about a month into college when I started looking into the New Media program. I had always had a love for YouTube, but never thought that I could end up studying it. When I looked into the New Media program, I saw those four words: Author, Maker, Creator, Innovator. I was intrigued, and wanted to know more. I read up on what the program was like, and then two days later, I redeclared my major. I had never felt more confident in a choice in my life. Dramatic, I know, but it’s true.

Erin Battaglia on phone and laptop outside

I took my first New Media classes the next semester, and I knew it was a perfect fit. There is a quote on the wall of the lab that says, “New Media attracts innovators, iconoclasts, and risk takers.” The new and ever-changing program creates an active environment that is always interesting. New Media courses challenge you intellectually and creatively. You learn more about your online presence, how to make content you’re proud of, how memes are important, and so much more. Jamie Cohen and Matt Applegate are two extremely knowledgeable professors who offer more and more every time you walk into class. They are passionate about media literacy and the way the internet operates. They encourage your creativity and artistry, and want you to find your niche. Once you do, they guide you on how to create your voice via media. Since becoming a New Media major, I have found that I love editing and photography. I love taking photos and videos of places I have been and things that make me happy, and I love to edit them in a way that shows who I am. Portraying yourself through your work, whether that be photos, paintings, or blog posts, is something everyone should aspire to do. And I can say that I am able to do this and have found my voice through this program.

I could go on about new media all day, and in a lot of cases I have done so. I am passionate about new media, and I always will be. Growing up, my dad always said to get a job that doesn’t feel like you’re going to work. I always brushed him off, because no matter what I do, or how much I love it, work is work. Well — spoiler alert — he was right. I found what doesn’t feel like work to me, and I can’t wait to make it my career.

Finding Myself at Molloy

By Sarah Moughal

When I started my freshman year, I wasn’t sure if Molloy was for me. I chose Molloy at the last minute because it was close by and offered a great Business program. I am a junior now and have fallen in love with all that the school offers during my years here. Molloy is ideal for someone who wants to make the most of her college years. The College makes it possible for me to take the classes I want, be involved on campus, and intern.

I love that Molloy doesn’t constrict me to one field of study. I am majoring in Accounting and minoring in Art History. I am happy that I can pursue my Business degree and take classes in the Art department. I also like that I can sign up for elective classes. For example, I got the chance to take an American Sign Language class, which was awesome!

The faculty is always available to help and provide extra assistance. My professors work one-on-one with me to help me understand the course material. Having a very open, friendly relationship with my professors allows me to build my network and gain support and confidence in my studies and career aspirations. My Corporate Finance professor always pushed me to try harder – he frequently stayed after class to help me and encouraged me throughout the class to stay focused and made sure I understood the course. My Art professor saw the passion I had for art history and offered me free tickets to MOMA and a personal tour conducted by her. I am so grateful for the relationships I’ve made with professors at Molloy.

Outside of class, I am president of a club called Circle K International. This club is part of an international service organization, which means we interact with various schools in New York State, as well as internationally. Through my club, I am able to work with other clubs on campus to brainstorm new projects and host events. Student Affairs is always welcoming new proposals and ideas to add to campus life. This year, I have focused on mental health awareness and am in the process of hosting a “Let It Go” event. I am collaborating with a project coordinator at Molloy who is a professional on speaking for suicide awareness. We are proposing a bonfire on campus where students, faculty, and staff can throw in a written note with insecurities, issues, or fears and just let them burn and let them go. Molloy allows me to share my voice on such a strong topic – I am constantly motivated by my school to express my voice and help others.

I am exposed to many cultures at Molloy. Many of my classmates and club members were born in different countries or have parents who were born outside of the U.S. Molloy is huge on studying abroad and expanding cultural exposure. I have been inspired by my school’s diversity to use my club and voice as a platform to work with Student Affairs on getting international flags hung up at Molloy.

At Molloy, we are fortunate to be able to take part in many networking events, which is how I landed my internship this semester. I am a production design intern at Lifetime Brands, which is a huge international houseware production company. I get to research new patents and prints while working with people overseas to make samples and prototypes for various tabletop products. I am grateful that I can commute to my internship and then back to class. This allows me to gain experience in the field of my study as well as guide me into what I want to do with my career.

Molloy College offers me the chance to utilize my time to the fullest. I am able to juggle so much while getting a quality education. I can run my club, participate in other clubs, throw campus events, and engage in networking and cultural events. I can be the well-rounded and ambitious student that I want to be.

3 Tips for Molloy Nursing Students

By Kristen Ponticelli

kristen grad photoLooking back at the past four years of nursing school is extremely rewarding. It was definitely a difficult road, but one that was well worth it.

I remember being a freshman in Anatomy and Physiology class and thinking “When am I ever going to need to know this?” Believe me; you will need to know it. Everything you learn in your nursing classes is built on your knowledge from previous classes. This is something that I did not fully realize until I was a senior in Critical Care.

I want to give all of you some tips I wish I knew while making my journey through nursing school.

  1. Use the resources Molloy offers.

Molloy is an amazing place to be. The new nursing lab is beautiful. Make sure you use it. Do not just go in there and chat with your friends because it will not help you in the long run. I know that some of the tasks do not feel realistic on the manikins, but it is important to practice the steps of the tasks. The more confident and comfortable you are with the steps, the better you will be when you have to perform them in a clinical setting.

If you are struggling in a class, do not be afraid to approach your teacher and ask for tips on how you can improve. Go to them early in the semester. Do not wait until the last test of the semester to ask for their help. All of the teachers I’ve had at Molloy do have our best interest at heart and are willing to sit down and talk with us if we need help. You can also get a free tutor by going to the ACE center.

  1. Develop a study plan.

The information we learn in our nursing classes is information we must remember. It is not information that you can just memorize and forget after you hand in your test. As you get notes, go through them and see what you don’t understand. Start studying at least one to two weeks before each test.

Try to find another person or two to study with. These should be students that take school as seriously as you do. Being able to explain a topic correctly out loud means you understand the topic. Studying with another person is also a good idea because they may understand a topic you don’t and might be able to explain it to you and vice versa.

  1. Take clinicals seriously.

Clinicals are an extremely important part of our education. I know that at times you may feel out of place on the floors (we’ve all been there). Be confident in your abilities and ask if anyone on the floor needs help. Do not just sit around because it will not help you in the long run.

Although we may be intimidated by our clinical professors sometimes, they are there to help us. Do not be scared to reach out to them and ask them questions. You may think you have a stupid question, but most likely another student is probably thinking the same exact thing.

I have had a wonderful experience during my four years at Molloy, and I’m hoping the same for all of you. Always believe in yourself and you will make it through!

Image courtesy of Kristen Ponticelli.

Division of Education at Molloy: First Impressions of Phase I

By Danielle Miller


I’m not sure if the same goes for my fellow Molloy Lions, but I think the spring semester has definitely gotten off to an exciting start. As I am a junior, I have started Phase I of the Education Program (FINALLY).

Phase I, though it is the first and supposedly the easiest of the three phases, can be described in one word: overwhelming. It has certainly been a huge reality check learning of all of the coursework I need to complete, along with the state-mandated certification and professional workshops I am required to attend. Oh, and 30 hours of field observations, too! All of a sudden, my peers and I are doing so many responsible, adult things. I would be lying if I said I was completely relaxed and pretty chill about it all. I’m actually internally freaking out every second of every day, but at the same exact time, I am so excited.

It’s been amazing to finally be observing in an actual school. I observe two hours a week, so it’s not stressful at all. In fact, it’s honestly a great way to end my week of classes and de-stress. I love being able to see the way teachers interact with their students and paying attention to small details I normally wouldn’t notice. My Education courses have opened my eyes to aspects of the classroom environment, teacher-student relationships, and student behaviors that I was not aware of just one month ago. Making connections between the real world and what I am learning in my classes is becoming a reality.

Everything is finally starting to come around full circle. I am incredibly thankful that I have the chance to receive an education that will allow me to fulfill my dream of becoming a teacher. It has only been about one month into the semester (and Phase I), but I am completely back into school mode already. It usually takes me longer than this to get back into the groove of school once a new semester starts, but something about this semester is different—I am actually excited about what I am learning for the first time in my college career. I’m looking forward to the additional opportunities that will come my way during the remainder of this semester, and I am grateful to Molloy for providing me with them.

Image via Wikimedia.

Why I Chose Music Therapy as My Major

By Bethany Lindeblad

Bethany singing
When people ask me why I chose to go to school for music therapy, I always hesitate. I could tell them about all of the challenges I’ve faced and overcome in my lifetime and how music has helped me through those times. I could tell them how much happiness making music brings me. I could also tell them how happy it makes me to see others experience the same kind of joy I experience through music. The truth is that I could talk forever about why I chose to make a career out of music. There are so many reasons, all with stories behind them that all contributed to my decision. But when people ask me, I still have a hard time answering. It’s not because I don’t have an answer, but because I have so many answers to that one question, and I’m not sure that people always want the lengthiest, most serious one. So I thought about it for a long time and I tried to come up with an answer that isn’t too much, isn’t too vague, and that (hopefully) everyone can relate to in some way.

In the duration of the eighteen years I’ve been alive, I’ve come to realize that there aren’t many constants in life. Everything is changing all around, even though we may not realize it in that instant. The population of the world is always fluctuating, economies are shifting, civilizations have come and gone, governments have changed, laws have changed and are still changing, technology and medicine continue to become more and more advanced. People grow up, people move away, friends come and go – aside from your closest ones. Your interests change, your style changes, your personality may even change. Sometimes I think that the only constant in life is change. But I realize that there is at least one more constant in my life. Music. No matter what, music is something that will always be there for you. It doesn’t ever get mad at you, disappointed in you, or bored of you. In fact, if you ever get bored of it, there’s always another instrument, genre, or song for you to try. And that’s why I chose music therapy as my major. Because music is an age-old source of love and emotion. It’s a language that anyone and everyone can speak. It is powerful and healing, and as corny as it sounds, there is something truly magical about music. If you don’t mind, I’d like to leave you with one of my favorite quotes that I feel perfectly sums up the way I feel about music:

“He took his pain and turned it into something beautiful. Into something that people connect to. And that’s what good music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.” – Hannah Harrington, Saving June.

Until next time! -Bethany

Image courtesy of Bethany Lindeblad.