Megan Sargent ’22
Biochemistry Major Seeks Ph.D. at Tuft's University
Megan Sargent graduated from Merrimack College’s Biochemistry program in 2022. Sargent chose to attend Merrimack College because of the collaborative learning environment and the academic scholarship she received. “Entering Merrimack College, I was a STEM Education major. During the tailend of my sophomore year, I decided I needed to switch my major. Talking to two very influential advisors in the PASS office, Matt and D, helped guide me to switch my major to biochemistry. Without the PASS office and these advisors, I would not have had the courage nor guidance to help guide a new path. On the same note, my secondary advisor Lauri Gibbons also helped guide my academic and post-graduate career.” Earning my bachelor’s degree at Merrimack, has allowed me to continue to follow my dream career path of pursuing chemistry. With a degree in biochemistry, there were many avenues that could be chosen. With the mentorship of amazing chemistry professors and a biology professor, Dr. Piatelli, I chose to pursue a PhD in chemistry immediately after earning my bachelors degree.
Academically, Merrimack College prepared Megan for graduate school with research opportunities. In order to earn an ACS degree in biochemistry, she had the opportunity to do a year long thesis and research project with Dr. Baldock and truly gained the necessary confidence, techniques, and mentorship needed to excel in a research environment. The professors in the chemistry department also provided Megan with the opportunity for two summer internships. One which was covered under a SCURCA grant during the summer of her junior year with Dr. Chiarelli, and another at EMD Serono during the summer after her senior year, which was coordinated by Dr. Provencher. “The internship in industry at EMD Serono helped shape Megan future career goals and helped her decide to join a synthetic organic chemistry lab at Tufts. Aside from the academics, Merrimack allowed me to gain the social and professional skills needed to interview at universities through both attending conferences and the professional development retreat.”
“I loved the atmosphere on campus and how there was a sense of community among students. I also really liked the smaller class sizes and getting to interact with professors directly, in both the classroom/labs and especially in the research setting.”
Sargent looks back at her time spent at Merrimack fondly. “There were many important lessons that faculty members taught me during my undergraduate degree. To pinpoint one lesson that I think about daily is something that Dr. Fernandez said to me during the fall of my senior year. I was struggling with a concept from his inorganic chemistry course, and while writing out the problem on a whiteboard in the hallway, he told me to take a leap backwards and instead of focusing on the entire picture, start at the beginning and look at the small steps. At the time, I took the advice and focused on the problem at hand, the movement of electrons and solved the problem with Dr. F’s guidance. However, I find myself thinking about this daily in the lab and trying to grasp the concepts I face in grad school.”
Dr. Fernandez’s advice stuck with Sargent as she continued to progress through her academic programs. “Trying to jump in blindly and grasp the entirety of the concept/problem at hand is a huge task, and if I focus on the small details of chemistry that I know, I am able to problem solve. This advice is something that I have shared with undergrads that I teach, while being a teaching/research assistant.”