As a student at Le Moyne, Laura Dishaw ’07 traveled to Iceland to study the land and vegetation where glaciers have retreated. She recalls the trip as a “once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience” in which she and her classmates not only studied the forces that shape nature, but also learned about the culture of Europe’s westernmost country.
“I still think about it a lot,” Dishaw says, “and I am sure that when I’ve grown old I will regale (maybe bore would be a better word) my grandchildren with Iceland stories.”
Today Dishaw, who was a double major in biological sciences and psychology at Le Moyne, is pursuing her doctoral degree through the Integrated Toxicology and Environmental Health Program at Duke University in Durham, N.C. She is interested in neurotoxicology and plans to focus her research on how environmental contaminants such as heavy metals and pesticides impact the nervous system during development
She credits her Le Moyne experience with helping to set her on this path.
“I am thankful for the extent and variety of research I was able to conduct as an undergraduate,” she says. “I was involved in four different research projects when it’s not that uncommon for graduate students to have no research experience at all. That’s amazing for any school, let alone a small liberal arts college like Le Moyne.”
As for what she plans to do when she completes the program at Duke, Dishaw is not certain. As a high school student she says she “knew” she would become veterinarian, but now Dishaw would like to work at a college or university. That would provide her with the opportunity to teach and as well as to conduct research, something her instructors at Le Moyne strongly encouraged.
“Le Moyne’s faculty members have been critical to my success,” she says. “They are wonderful teachers and mentors – always approachable and willing to put in the effort to help their students in any way they can. If it hadn’t been for their encouragement and support throughout my time there, I never would have made it where I am today.”
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