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Natural Science and Mathematics Blog

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Bill DowdThank you to Alumni Bill Dowd who participated in our Undergraduate Seminar Series Friday! Mr. Dowd enlightened students by sharing the experiences of his challenging career path. Mr. Dowd always planned to use his Biology degree from the Mount to propel him straight into Medical School upon graduation. Unfortunately, his aspirations of Med School would come to a standstill as schools denied his application or put him on waiting lists that never seemed to be answered.

Like any other fellow Mountie, Bill Dowd was not going to let a little bump in the road ruin his future. Rising to the challenge Mr. Dowd ventured into pharmaceutical sales where he found a company that would give him a chance. With very minimal sales experience he relied on his biology degree from the Mount to give him an advantage he so desperately needed. He felt as if he "knew the language" that his customers needed to engage in; he would be able to answer the real questions about the things he was selling because it was his field of study and most importantly his passion. Once management realized Mr. Dowd's success in sales they offered him a sales trainer position.

This first promotion served as a key milestone and the motivational spring Mr. Dowd needed to catapult his career to the top. In pursuit to the top he decided to continue his education and get his master's degree in marketing. By constantly adding to his skill set and furthering his education, Mr. Dowd was able to become the CEO of Eckert & Ziegler BEBIG. Bill Dowd is a reminder to our students that sometimes the realities of life can sometimes be harsh but we can't let them stop us. We have to be willing and able to re-invent ourselves by adding skill sets and furthering our education so that we don't miss the opportunities to spring our careers to the top!

Once again we want to thank Alumni Bill Dowd for his insightful presentation in our Undergraduate Seminar Series! Remember to check out flyers, Facebook, and our calendar for upcoming events.


Alumni Lauren Sakowski graduated from the Mount in 2009 and is currently working on her PhD. in neuroscience at the University of Delaware. Ms. Sakowski is currently a graduate research assistant at A.I. duPont Hospital for Children in the Department of Biomedical Research also works in the Neurogenetics Research Laboratory, characterizing a new mouse model of Pelizaeus-Merzbacher disease and working on pre-clinical trials to treat inflammation. She has created a blog called NeurocultureBlog to review "recent publications in neuroscience, mainly neurodegenerative disesase, and grad school life." Read about her experience and new pressing issues by clicking the link below and checking out Lauren's blog! The School of Natural Science and Mathematics want to congratulate Lauren in her success and wish his luck in the future.


EricEric Sakowski C'08 (on right) is now a doctoral student in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Delaware where his research along with his team is going to be published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS). Eric is a part of a team of researchers that have discovered that an ancient gene- ribonucleotide reductase (RNR), which occurs in all cellular life- provides important biological insights into the characteristics of unknown viruses in the sea. The results of this research could potentially lead to a new set of tools for understanding the inner workings of marine microbial communities.

Eric explains, “When we’re studying these viruses, they aren’t viruses we can observe. We can’t grow them in a lab we can’t physically look at most of them, so the only thing we have to go on is the genetic sequence. And, then, if you don’t have the sequence data that you’ve seen before, it’s really hard to make conclusions about the virus that it came from.”  

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Patricia Yam was one out of two students chosen for a nurse residency program for the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. The program is designed for new graduates from the School of Nursing offering a three year commitment to work for the Hopkins hospital with an option to work part time in third year if the recipient decides to attend graduate school. This type of program serves as a pilot study and opportunity for Graduates to be trained and gain experience in specialized units. Historically, units such as PACU (post-anesthesia care unit) would only hire nurses with critical care experience or emergency department backgrounds. Patricia explains that “it’s super exciting to become a part of the unit as a new graduate.” 

As a part of this new exciting residency program, Patricia will be doing her last semester/ practicum in the PACU unit rather than starting after she graduates. This will give her the opportunity to learn more about and become more familiar with the unit. When asked about the application process Patricia added, “Submitting your resume, an essay, recommendation letter was the first round…They then selected students to proceed to interview with the nurse manager of the unit. The entire process took maybe a month! But waiting for an answer was definitely nerve wracking!” Congratulations to Patricia and we wish her luck in her bright future! 

Carly Lay Geronimo, a 2011 graduate from the Mount, is a rising third year graduate student in the Molecular Biology Program at Princeton University. Last June, she joined the lab of Dr. Virginia Zakian, her advisor, and is studying telomerase regulation using budding yeast as the model organism.

Recently, she received a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship award, which provides funding for Carly Lay for three years. Over 14,000 students apply and only 2,000 students are given awards. For more information about the program visit

When asked about her research, Carly Lay replied with the following statement: "For my research project, I am investigating the role of the Pif1 DNA helicase as a negative regulator of telomerase using the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae as the model organism. Telomerase is a specialized enzyme whose essential function is to maintain telomeres, which are the physical ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. In cells that lack telomerase activity, telomeres progressively shorten with each round of DNA replication, and when the telomere reaches a critical length, most cells senesce and die. Thus, telomerase regulation is imperative for proper maintenance of the cell because misregulation can lead to replicative senescense, apoptosis, and compromised genome integrity. Pif1 is an important negative regulator of telomere length because Pif1 is the only helicase in yeast that has been shown to directly and catalytically inhibit telomerase. Therefore, the main objectives of my research project are to determine how Pif1 gets recruited to telomeres and to elucidate the mechanism behind Pif1 inhibition of telomerase."

We congratulate Carly Lay on this prestigious award and we expect many great things from her in the future!

Throughout the semester, the School of Natural Science and Mathematics hosts speakers to present their research or provide an informative lecture on their field of study. These speakers are recommended by the current faculty or are alumni who come back and share their experiences after the Mount. Nicole Calabro C’11, presented in September to a group of students and faculty about her research surrounding an experimental biomaterial that could help heal wounds faster. She graduated from the Mount with a Biology degree and is currently pursuing a PhD at Yale School of Medicine.

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