Mount St. Joseph University

Mount Supports Biology Graduate in Contributing to a Meaningful Bigger Picture

Behavioral and Natural Sciences, Biology, Chemistry

By: Amanda Gratsch

The Sky is the Limit

Seated in her third grade classroom, her eyes filled with curiosity and wonder as she began to discover her blossoming niche within the study of all living things. Mount St. Joseph University ’16 alumna Mary Wright sat attentively in her science class as a young student with a pencil in hand, absorbing and writing down information limited only to the parameters of what her notebook could hold, inspired and determined to pursue her favorite subject.

From an interest in cell structures to molecular genetics with a drive to make a difference, this girl was hooked on biology.

Now a young adult and ready to delve into this field of interest, Wright looked at several options to pursue her degree. After visiting the Mount, she found it to be a truly positive learning environment to foster academic and personal growth, realizing immediately that she wanted to pursue her passion here.

“I chose to go to the Mount because I loved the small class sizes and the individualized attention the students received from the professors. I felt like it was a really beneficial learning environment,” she says.

Unstoppable Ambition Harnesses Professional Growth

With her love for science combined with an accommodating learning environment, Wright was inspired to learn more about it.

Earning a 4.0 her freshman year and a place on the Dean’s list for four years, Wright’s involvement at the Mount did not stop at academic excellence. Motivated to broaden her hands-on skills, she joined Chemistry Club, served as president of TriBeta and served as president and co-president of Pre-Health Club. She also co-oped her senior year at Children’s Hospital as a lab assistant.

And it doesn't stop here. Senior year, Wright attended the annual NE-4 regional TriBeta Convention, a National Biological Honor Society and regional competition for undergraduate students. Wright took first place in the Molecular, Cellular and Microbiology category and won the Frank G. Brooks Award, where she earned the chance to present at the national biennial TriBeta Conference at Bethel University, St. Paul MN.  She attended the convention and placed second in her section for her presentation.

Contributing to the Scientific Community

After co-oping at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, it comes as no surprise that Wright was offered a full-time position upon graduation in their research lab as an RA III lab assistant. She attributes her success to the Mount’s classes, coursework and extracurricular clubs.

“I have learned a lot about professionalism and how to ask questions and interact with those around me, and most importantly I learned a lot of very good lab skills that I use every day at work.”

In her current position, Wright is currently focusing her research on liver cancer where she works with liver tissue samples from patients and mice, running a variety of experiments on them to learn more about the different pathways that liver cancer takes. “We hope to contribute our research findings to the scientific community to better understand the issue and help lead to better treatments or even a possible cure in the future,” Wright says.

Wright reflects on the personal reward gained from her experiences on and off campus, encouraging any student interested in biology to pursue it.

“I would strongly encourage them to pursue the type of work I do if it is something they are interested in because it's fulfilling to know that the work I do is meaningful and is contributing to the bigger picture of a major topic, cancer. I get to work with my hands while doing stuff around the lab which makes it fun and engaging, but I also get to use my brain every day while performing experiments and reviewing data.”

When she’s not staying busy in lab, Wright’s current hobbies include going to the dog park with her two dogs, baking and running.

To learn more about the Mount's Biology program, visit our program page, and check out the Cooperative Education page to learn about co-ops like Mary's.