March 2019: Our Favorite Aspects of the McNulty Program from the Class of 2022

by Briana Baier, Elizabeth Ehrhardt, April Pivonka, Katie Lynch and Arianna Varano

It was only a year ago when we were figuring out which college to attend. Although we were planning on majoring in varying fields related to STEM, our paths all crossed due to the McNulty Scholars Program. This was a unifying advantage that Saint Joseph’s University has to offer, and one of the primary reasons we all chose to attend. Below are some of our favorite aspects of the program.


Briana Baier (Computer Science): My favorite aspect of the McNulty Program are the weekly seminars we have on Wednesday nights. We all gather in a classroom in the Science Center and have the opportunity to hear about some very interesting projects, including those of some of our own scholars. By attending these weekly meetings, I have learned so many new things about what it means to enter into a career in a STEM field. As a computer science major, I have had the opportunity to listen in and see how my field of interest is so deeply entwined with other STEM fields, such as biology, chemistry and physics. These seminars have also helped me realize that the community I’m in as a McNulty Scholar is a diverse group of brilliant women. I have never felt like I am in competition with them. Instead it is an environment that fosters excitement and enthusiasm for the accomplishments of my peers. We all share our recent triumphs on projects, applications to grad school, a rigorous course load and so much more. The ability to have a place where I feel comfortable and can embrace my passion for science, all while enjoying a slice of pizza, is something I will never take for granted.


April Pivonka (Biology): One of my favorite features of the McNulty Program is the numerous opportunities available for community service. I have always had a strong interest in helping others and the McNulty Program has allowed me to continue this passion. Thus far, I have volunteered at the Philadelphia Area Girls Enjoying Science Program and the Wagner Free Institute Community Days, where we conducted science experiments with children of different ages to educate and spark their interests in the scientific process.  In addition, I recently was given the role of liaison between the Wagner Free Institute and the SJU students to determine, organize and facilitate activities related to hibernation and Groundhog Day. Inspiring younger students in science is a priceless opportunity which I am so thankful that the McNulty Program has provided me.


Katie Lynch (Mathematics): One of my favorite elements of the McNulty Program is the McNulty Central study room in the Science Center.  I go there in between classes, early in the morning, and late at night to get my work done and interact with other McNulty Scholars. At every school I have attended thus far, I make sure to find a special spot where I feel completely and entirely at home. McNulty Central is certainly that because there, I can scribble math equations onto the whiteboards before an exam or simply de-stress in between classes. The couches and Keurig make the room feel like a home within a home, and the encouraging feminist mural and pictures motivate me to be the best version of myself. Whether my brain is fully powered and in motion, or at peaceful ease in the quiet, McNulty Central has allowed me repose from the chaos of the school day.


Arianna Varano (Biology): One of my favorite parts of the McNulty Program is the unique opportunities for service presented to us. Like April, I’ve had the opportunity to volunteer at the Philadelphia Area Girls Enjoying Science Program and the Wagner Free Institute Community Days where I was lucky enough to demonstrate science experiments for the children and young girls of the community.  Having the ability to share my love of service and science with the local community and the other women in the McNulty Program (who share the same passion for STEM as I do) always makes my love for the McNulty Program grow.