McNulty Scholar Kaleigh Williams ’19 will receive a B.S. in Biology when she graduates on Saturday. She arrived here at SJU nearly 4 years ago from Brookeville, MD, with a very steadfast plan to ultimately pursue a career in veterinary medicine.
While on campus, she conducted research in the laboratory of biologist Scott McRobert,Ph.D., studying dependent courtship modifications in two different fly species: Drosophila melanogaster and Drosophila affinis. Specifically, she investigated whether males of either species would modify their courtship behavior following rejection from females of the opposite species. Her work resulted in a departmental honors thesis. While working on this project, Kaleigh also served as the lab’s Biodiversity Manager, caring for the amphibians, reptiles and fish housed in Dr. McRobert’s facilities.
Outside of the lab, Kaleigh works as a Veterinary Assistant at Radnor Veterinary Hospital in Wayne, PA. During the summer, she returns home to work at Seneca Stream Farm, overseeing the care of the sheep, goats, chickens, ducks, turkeys, miniature donkeys, cats and dogs housed there. She alsospent a summer working as a Veterinary Technician at the Belize Wildlife and Referral Clinic in San Ignacio, Belize, assisting doctors in surgery at the free spay and neuter clinics and working alongside wildlife veterinarians to rehabilitate and release native wildlife.
Kaleigh has been an active member of the McNulty Program community, serving as a peer mentor and coordinating the program’s booth at the Philadelphia Science Festival. She volunteers with Hand-in-Hand and is a member of the scholarship committee of the Zeta Iota chapter of Phi Sigma Pi, a national honor fraternity. She tutors students in French and has been inducted into Phi Beta Kappa and Pi Delta Phi, the national French Honors Society. She recently received the American Institute for Biological Sciences (AIBS) Award, which is given to an outstanding graduating senior in SJU’s Biology Department.
Next year, Kaleigh will embark on her pursuit of a Doctorate of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where she is particularly interested in immunology and microbiology research. We will miss you, Kaleigh!!