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Flagler College - A Distinctive Approach to Academics

Spotlight on Former Students


Picture of Sarah, MaryRose and Daphne

"Classes are fantastic and look great on your transcript, but application of techniques is what will set you apart and get you hired."

Daphne Pariser, ’14
Psychology/Environmental Science

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Picture of Sarah, MaryRose, and Daphne
Pictured from left to right: Sarah, MaryRose, and Daphne

Daphne Pariser graduated from Flagler College in December 2013 with a degree in Psychology and a minor in Environmental Science. She is currently working in a Microbial Pathogenesis lab at New York University’s Langone Medical Center. At the time Daphne became interested in science here at Flagler, the Coastal Environmental Science major was not established.

Q: What are you currently doing, career wise?

Currently, I am working at NYU Langone Medical Center in a Microbial Pathogenesis lab. The focus of the lab is on HIV and my position is a laboratory technician, where I typically help prepare cells or blood samples for specific projects. Currently, I am working side-by-side with a PhD student from Turkey and our project is based on T-cell receptors. The lab has built a receptor that recognizes and kills a peptide expressed by HIV. The project I was assigned to is working to make the efficiency of the killing closer to 100% (of all infected cells).

Q: How did the science major/minor help you to get where you are today?

The science major should be commended for professors who not only give their best during class time, but also for their consistent availability to students. One of the things that I will always look back on is how much extra time my professors gave me. Not only did we get to meet with them during office hours, but there were frequent field trips or labs outside, which really helped teach me how to work better with others. Probably the most important classes for me were Biology, a Biology Independent Study, chemistry, and mathematics. At the time I was in college these things interested me, but did not seem immediately important. Now that I have my own job, I realize that these are absolutely vital to my survival at work (not a dramatization). Also, I did multiple independent studies with Dr. Terri Seron and if it had not been for those I would not be sitting at my NYU desk right now.

Q: Is there anything specific about your time here outside of the classroom that helped you in your career?

Absolutely, the independent studies that I did with Dr. Seron are probably the most valuable thing I took away from Flagler College. Since I was a young girl I had been fascinated with science, but I never thought I could/would be a scientist. When I originally took Dr. Seron’s biology class I was so excited with the material and eventually she asked if I wanted to try some research. Eventually this research turned into a two-year project with a potential publication. Dr. Seron taught me to use the machinery and the technique behind it and then let me work on my own. This independence was by far the most difficult thing I faced in college, but the challenge made me realize how much was possible. There were countless times that I thought my project failed or that I could not (would not) go on, but she coached me through. Due to her ceaseless coaching and belief in me I feel more confident in my ability to work in a scientific lab. When I think of Flagler this is what comes to mind: the dedication and distance the teachers will go for their students. When I think back to my high school and middle school I can remember a few professors names, but here I know I’ll remember the science faculty’s names because of the close connection and relationship we all share. I can’t express enough my gratitude toward the science department, it really has impacted me for life and I cannot wait to see it grow.

Another specific was that during my senior year I was able to mentor three students: Brandon Storm, Sarah Beland, and MaryRose Hall. Not only was I able to have an independent project, but all three of them were exposed to this project which will then go on their resumes and help them get internships and jobs later on. Also, all two of these students are currently applying for internships and taking our project to a conference in March 2014, which means that as freshman in college they will have a published scientific poster. This is why Flagler is amazing, very rarely will you find the same opportunities that you find at Flagler College.

Q: What advice, if any, would you offer to students considering a major in science?

START AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! One thing I really regretted was not starting science classes sooner. Although people think four years is a lot of time, it really goes by quickly. Also, science students are fortunate enough to sign up for internships typically as early as your sophomore year. These internships are all paid for and are critical if you are thinking about entering the science field. Classes are fantastic and look great on your transcript, but application of techniques is what will set you apart and get you hired. Start applying as soon as possible, I got hired with 2 biology classes and a few psych classes under my belt. Also, I would suggest getting in on an independent project or working as a lab tech or tutor.