Words from McNulty Scholars

We Are Live! The McNulty Application for Fall 2020 is up!

It’s official.  You can now access the McNulty Scholars Program Application for incoming freshman women planning to enter in Fall 2020.  If you are a young woman interested in attending Saint Joseph’s University and majoring in Biology, Chemistry, Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics, Chemical Biology or Environmental Science, you may be eligible to apply for a full-tuition or partial-tuition scholarship.  Minimum eligibility requirements include at least a 1360 SAT/29 ACT score, as well as a 3.5 cumulative high school GPA.

In addition to financial assistance, the McNulty Scholars Program matches Scholars with a faculty mentor, offers ongoing professional and leadership development opportunities, and provides funding to underwrite a summer research experience here on campus.  Many Scholars also use program funding to attend national academic conferences to present their work before they graduate.

If you’re interested in learning more about this opportunity, please check out How To Apply or contact the McNulty Program Coordinator, Shani Nuckols, at knuckols@sju.edu.

These Are A Few Of Our Favorite Things: Reflections on SJU from the Class of 2020

by Amelia Bielefeld, Annamarie Glaser, Lindsay Miller, Corinne Merlino and Isabella Succi

Amelia Bielefeld (Biology): Something that has really stuck out to me after almost four years at SJU is the amount of opportunities we are presented with, not to mention the diversity of these opportunities as well.  I have met some amazing mentors who are always ready to give advice and are there to help me as much as they can. Through these mentors, I have been able to do many things I may not have been able to do elsewhere, including research I’m really interested in. I’ve even been able to present this research at a conference in California.  And this summer, I went on a study tour of Cuba. Even with the flexibility of our class schedules, I have been able to take classes I would not have expected to take before coming to college.  As a science major, I have had room for many philosophy and ethics courses that have broadened my mindset and taught me new ways of thinking.  I also took photography and painting courses, two things I have always wanted to explore further.  All of these things, courtesy of SJU, have helped me become a more well-rounded individual.

Annamarie Glaser (Biology & Philosophy): As I start my final year at SJU, I have so many memories to look back on from my years here. There are countless things that I have loved about my time at SJU–the campus, the people, the opportunities to learn and grow. But what stands out to me the most are the professors. I know this may sound strange, but it was truly the professors here at St. Joe’s that have kept me inspired throughout the years. I fully believe that you will find no better group of teachers at any other school.  Most of our professors not only care if you come to class, but actually care about how much you learn from them. The small classes here allow you to build relationships with your lecturers, and I have found this to be extremely helpful. In particular, I appreciate the close relationship I have been able to form with my McNulty faculty mentor, Dr. Catalina Arango. Her guidance has been crucial to me during my time here. While I love SJU with all of my heart, there is now doubt that Dr. Arango and all of the professors are the best thing about this university.

Lindsay Miller (Mathematics & Actuarial Science): As I begin my senior year at SJU. there are numerous experiences I look back on fondly because of this school. I have made decisions that pushed me out of my comfort zone and I have great memories from service, internships and organizations I’ve joined.  However I think the best decision I made so far was studying abroad. I studied in Rome, Italy during the Spring 2019 semester. I always talked about studying abroad, but as more time at SJU passed and my schedule became busier and busier, the idea seemed too difficult to make a reality. However once I decided to go for it, I had all the resources I needed at SJU to pull it off. I consulted my academic advisors to help me plan my course schedule for my semester abroad AND all the semesters preceding it as well.  Certain classes, especially upper-levels, are only offered once a year, so I had to be intentional about selecting courses to fulfill requirements. Additionally, the Center for International Programs (CIP) is a tremendous resource on campus. They were there to provide support through the entire process (from picking the city I would stay in to arranging my student visa) and helped to make me feel excited and prepared, rather than nervous and overwhelmed. Now that I’ve been home for a few months, I miss Rome, traveling every weekend, and everything else about my adventure abroad.  But I look back on the experience with nothing but love and gratitude. Each person’s experience is different, but I cannot recommend spending a semester abroad more!

Corinne Merlino (Biology): Although preparing for my fourth and final year at SJU has been bittersweet, reflecting on my time here leaves me feeling nothing but gratitude. Gratitude for the people I’ve met, both my peers and faculty. Gratitude for the opportunities I’ve had. And most of all, gratitude for the endless support I’ve felt from this community here at SJU. Coming in as a freshman biology major, I expected my classes to weed people out. I thought my classmates would be cut-throat and competitive. But instead, my teachers only wanted me to succeed and spent as much time as it took to help me grasp concepts I didn’t understand. I also found that rather than being competitive, my peers were just as nervous as I was, and we spent late nights in the library studying together for exams. At the end of my freshman year, I was nervous to ask one of my professors if I could do research in her lab.  If it wasn’t for an older student convincing me that I was qualified and helping me with my application, I never would have pursued this opportunity.  Writing this as a senior, I truly believe that I wouldn’t be the student, researcher and person I am today without the support of my McNulty Program faculty mentor, Dr. Julia Lee-Soety. Whether it was supporting me in the lab as a Summer Scholar, inviting me to travel with her to conferences or giving me career advice, she always welcomed me into her office to talk (and vent!). Saint Joe’s is a community that is overflowing with support for the big and the little things, and that is, by far and way, my favorite thing about this place.

Bella Succi (Biology): After four years at SJU, I have found certain things here that mean a lot to me. In particular, I found the Science Center to be a home base. Don’t get me wrong! It isn’t exactly homey with its cinderblock walls and rooms full of hardtop lab benches. But somehow after all this time, it has become where I feel most comfortable on campus. Although the physical make-up of the Science Center isn’t the most welcoming, the people inside make it one of my favorite places at SJU. Every time I step through the doors, I am guaranteed to see a friendly face and have a quick conversation. This warmness even extends into the later hours of the night. There have been many nights studying for exams or running experiments when I have stumbled across another Hawk in the same situation who is willing to offer a word encouragement (or maybe a cup of coffee). The Science Center offers me a close-knit community among students and faculty alike, and a safe haven from the day-to-day chaos of college life, making it a place that is integral to my SJU experience.

Welcome to the Class of 2023!

The school year has begun, and the Class of 2023 Scholars are in the house! Last week, the McNulty Program community turned out en masse–Scholars, Fellows and faculty–to welcome our newest members at our annual Meet & Greet.  We also had a chance to catch up with old friends!  A great way to kick off the year!!


The McNulty Program Class of 2014: Moving Onward and Upward


It was a very busy spring and summer for several McNulty Program alumnae from the Class of 2014:

Elena Montoto ’14 (B.S., Chemistry) earned her Ph.D. in Materials Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  While at the University, she was a Ford Foundation predoctoral fellow and her thesis work focused on the development and electrochemical exploration of macromolecular redox-active materials for energy applications, such as redox flow batteries and catalysis.  Additionally she is the President of the local Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) at UIUC.  She is now working at Dow Chemical as a Senior Chemist.

Kelsey Berger ’14 (B.S., Chemical Biology) graduated with an M.D. from Drexel University School of Medicine in May.  She is currently a resident in vascular surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital in New York City.

Lisa Mariani ’14 (B.S., Physics) successfully defended her Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics from the University of Pennsylvania in August.  Her thesis, entitled Additive Manufacturing and Mechanical Properties of Cellulose Nanofibril (CNF) Materials, sought to find ways to overcome limitations in using CNFs as building blocks for bulk structural materials.  This fall, she will join Exponent, an engineering consulting company.

Victoria Angelucci ’14 (B.S., Chemical Biology; B.S., Interdisciplinary Health Services) received her M.D. from Georgetown University in May.  She is currently a resident at Massachusetts General Hospital’s McLean Adult Psychiatry Residency Program, interested in child and adolescent psychiatry.

Gianna Valentino ’14 (B.S., Physics) received her Ph.D. this summer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Johns Hopkins University, where she pioneered all metal systems for microelectromechanical systems (MEMS). Her dissertation was entitled Experimental Characterization and Synthesis of Nanotwinned Ni-Mo-W Alloys. After wrapping up a few more manuscripts at Johns Hopkins, Gianna will move onto a post-doctoral fellowship.

Catherine Elorette ’14 (B.S., Biology) received her Ph.D. from Georgetown University in the Department of Neuroscience.  Her thesis was entitled The basolateral amygdala and superior colliculus regulate physiological and behavioral measures of avoidance and approach, and her research probed the central components of defensive behavioral responses in the brain. She is now working as a Post-Doc at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, examining the neural underpinnings of resting state functional connectivity.



All Work and No Play?

This summer, seven McNulty Scholars stayed on campus to participate in the 10-week Summer Scholars Program, in which they conducted research with a faculty research mentor. They worked hard inside the labs, studying things like the effect of sleep deprivation on memory, and the formation and stability of soap films.

McNulty Scholar Maura Flynn ’22 juggled time between the labs and Body Adventure Summer Camp, a one-week health-science geared summer camp for 3rd and 4th graders at Samuel L. Gompers Elementary School . Counselors like Maura help the young students explore the hidden functions of the body.

And as the summer wore down, they also managed to organize some fun activities outside the lab.  In addition to meeting weekly for lunch with Dr. Angiolillo, the Scholars challenged a team of visiting high school physics students to a softball game.  (Rumor has it, the McNulty Team won!!) And a small group also took a trip to the Jersey Shore for a day in Ocean City.

Who says we have to be all work and no play?!

The McNulty Program Class of 2023 Gets a Preview of Campus

This week, we had a chance to welcome the McNulty Program’s Class of 2023 during orientation.  Current Scholars staying on campus to conduct summer research met up with the incoming freshmen over lunch.  Our newest class includes:

  • Lillie Bennett (Computer Science), New York, NY
  • Katherine Commale (Biology), Downingtown, PA
  • Marie DeCarlo (Biology), Morganville, NJ
  • Kayla Flanders (Chemical Biology), Hainesport, NJ
  • Jenna Iorio (Mathematics), Manasquan, NJ
  • Kara Moulton (Chemical Biology), Sterling, MA
  • Alana Simrell (Mathematics), Scranton, PA

We are very excited that this group of young women will be joining our community in August.

Elise Brutschea ’19, B.S. in Chemistry

McNulty Scholar Elise Brutschea graduated last week with a B.S. in Chemistry and a minor in Physics.  While at SJU, she conducted a variety of chemistry research projects under the guidance of chemistry professor Mark Forman, Ph.D.  Most recently, her work focused on exploring greener alternatives to the synthesis of the pyramilized alkene Pentacyclo[,4.03,8.05,7]non-4-ene. This research culminated in a University Scholar Thesis Project.

Elise has also presented this work at many conferences, most recently last summer at the 16th Belgian Organic Synthesis Symposium in Brussels, and at the 256th National American Chemical Society Meeting in Boston, MA.  Her work has earned her several commendations, most notably a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship last spring.  She has also been recognized by the American Chemical Society (ACS) with an Undergraduate Leadership Award and the 2019 Scholastic Achievement Award.  Last summer, her research was fully funded by the ACS Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, a competitive award sponsored by Pfizer Inc to support organic chemistry research.

While at SJU, Elise  served as Co-President of the Molloy Chemical Society, Secretary of Saint Joseph’s chapter of Sigma Zeta National Honor Society, and Student Representative on the university’s Board on Student Academic Review.  She worked as a supplemental instructor in General Chemistry I & II and tutored students in algebra-based business courses, pre-calculus and calculus, as well.  She was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and an Associate Member of Sigma Xi National Research Society.  She was also an active leader within the McNulty Program community, spearheading student-led experiments at two different STEM education outreach initiatives: The Wagner Free Institute of Science Harvest Festival and Philadelphia-Area Girls Enjoying Science (PAGES) mini conferences.

At graduation, Elise received the University Student Senate Award for Scholarship.  She leaves SJU to pursue her Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry at Harvard University with a 5-year National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.

Congratulations, Elise!  We can’t wait to see what awaits you in Cambridge, MA!

Sarah Muche ’19, B.S. in Biology

McNulty Fellow Sarah Muche graduated last weekend with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Art.  She was a member of the McNulty Program community for two years, and conducted research in the laboratory of biologist Shaan Bhatt, Ph.D. During that time, her work focused on how the gastrointestinal pathogen Escherichia coli (EPEC) is genetically encoded to colonize and cause disease, essentially becoming a molecular syringe that enables the injection of toxic proteins into host cells.  She presented her research at the NorthEastern Microbiologists: Physiology, Ecology, Taxonomy (NEMPET) Conference in Blue Mountain Lake, NY in both 2017 and 2018, and she has plans to return to make an updated presentation this summer as well.    She has also contributed to the publication of two papers about her work, The Tip of the Iceberg: On the Roles of Regulatory Small RNAs in the Virulence of Enterohemorrhagic and Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in Frontiers in Cellular and Infection Microbiology and Hfq and Three Hfq-dependent sRNAs–MgrR, RyhB and McaS–Coregulate the Locus of Enterocyte Effacement in Enteropathogenic Escherichia coli in Oxford FEMS.

While Sarah was at SJU, she served as a Supplemental Instruction Leader in the Biology Department, and completed a departmental honors thesis.  She participated in the Institute of Clinical Bioethics Health Promoter program, and completed weekly service by leading health classes at West Catholic and volunteering at Mercy Ambulatory Center.  She was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honors Society, and the Sigma Zeta mathematics and science honor society. She also served on the McNulty Program’s Student Leadership Committee. She was awarded an SJU Medical Alumni Scholarship, and has previously been the recipient an SJU Gender Studies Department Trailblazer Award, which is given by the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice in recognition of female undergraduates who have excelled in a major that has not traditionally attracted large numbers of women.

After graduation, Sarah will be working as a Medical Scribe in the Family Medicine and Obstetrics & Gynecology Departments at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital.   We wish you much luck, Sarah!!  Don’t be a stranger!

Ashley Frankenfield ’19, B.S. in Chemical Biology, B.S. in Business Administration, Finance

McNulty Scholar Ashley Frankenfield received a B.S. in Chemical Biology and a B.S. in Business Administration, Finance when she graduated last Saturday.

While on campus, she conducted ongoing research in the laboratory of chemistry professor Jose Cerda, Ph.D., studying the thermodynamics of fluoride-binding within myoglobin, hemoglobin and horseradish peroxidase.  Specifically, she looked at how heavy metals affected the ability of fluoride to bind within the heme pocket.  She presented this work at both the 2018 American Chemical Society National Meeting in New Orleans, LA, and this past April at the American Chemical Society National Meeting in Orlando, FL.

Ashley served as a Teaching Assistant for General Chemistry I and II Labs, and served as the Treasurer of the SJU chapter of the national Sigma Zeta Honor Society. She was a participant in the Dean’s Leadership Program.  Ashley has also been a very active member of the McNulty Program community, coordinating our annual activity for the Philadelphia Area Girls Enjoying Science  (PAGES) mini-conference and serving as a member of the McNulty Student Leadership Committee.  She was always focused on planning social gatherings and dinners for the women in the program.

This summer, after completing work at Bristol Myers Squibb as a Resilience Intern, Ashley will move to Washington D.C., where she will pursue her Ph.D. in Chemistry at George Washington University. She hopes to focus her studies on bioanalytical or medicinal chemistry, ultimately resulting in a career in the pharmaceutical industry.

Many many congratulations, Ashley!


Jamilyn Mooteb ’19, B.S. in Physics

Jamilyn Mooteb graduated on Saturday with a B.S. in Physics and a minor in Computer Science.

She came to SJU and the McNulty Program from the island of Yap in Micronesia, half a world away from her family.  During the summer after her sophomore year, Jamie was invited to join the laboratory of the 2016 McNulty Lecturer, Dr. Allison Sweeney, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania.  During this off-campus Summer Scholar Program experience, Jamie focused her research on studying small iridescent structures along the “lips” of clams and how they work symbiotically with algae to filter light rays from the sun and efficiently conserve energy.

Outside the laboratory, Jamie was a teaching assistant in the Physics Department and was inducted into the Sigma Xi Scientific Research Honor Society.  On campus, she was an Ignite Retreat Leader and an active member of the SJU Judo Club.  Last fall, she started working at Linguistics Data Consortium, a University of Pennsylvania-based organization that gathers and stores data on languages around the world, including text-to-speech information and phonetics. There, Jamie provided technical support with software, machines and device management to users.

Jamie is now on her way back home to Yap, where she will look for work locally and spend time with her family after being away for 4 years.

Best wishes, Jamie!  Please keep us posted on what you’re up to!!!