May 07, 2012
A degree in natural sciences from Mount Saint Mary College can
lead to a high-tech lab or drive one to the dogs.
From working as a chemist to attending veterinary school, the
Mount’s rigorous natural science major prepares grads for success
in their chosen career fields.
“The science faculty at the Mount is very strong,” said Andre
Santa (left), a chemistry major from Walden, NY.
Santa starts a new job two days after graduation this May, as a
chemist/quality process engineer for Eastern Alloys, Inc.,
Eastern Alloys manufactures world-class zinc alloys using
state-of-the-art processing technologies, marketed under the
EAZALL® trade name. Santa will be busy testing the quality of
products, he said, adding that his job offer came as a result of
attending the Mount Saint Mary College employment fair in
“I gave my resume to the HR person (from Eastern Alloys), they
later found me walking around the fair and I had a preliminary
interview on the spot,” said Santa. Some 60 companies were
represented at the fair and 173 students attended.
The Mount’s division of natural sciences offers a variety of
courses from astronomy and earth science to organic chemistry and
animal physiology offering bachelor's degrees in biology or
Santa named Mount professors William Lahar, Lynn Maelia, and
Janet Petroski as key to his success.
“They were always willing to work with me whenever I needed
help,” noted Santa, who works at the college and privately as a
Course requirements also prepare students for graduate study,
medical, veterinary, or dental school; and careers in industry and
Gigianna Santiago ’12 (right), an honors biology major from
Newburgh, NY, will study veterinary medicine this fall. She noted
that professor Suparna Bhalla, chair of the natural sciences
program, served as her advisor and was very helpful regarding the
vet school application process.
Santiago says she is well prepared for the challenges that lie
ahead, due to the robust science curriculum and hands-on work in
the Mount’s state-of-the-art labs in the Kaplan Family Mathematics,
Science and Technology Center.
“The strongest aspect of my education at the Mount,” said
Santiago, “was the emphasis on taking the lecture material and not
only placing it in a real world situation to help you with what you
were learning, but also in the application of research.”
Santiago presented her research at the Eastern Colleges Science
Conference in Wayne, NJ last month.
Her topic was “Modification of a Plant Microbial Fuel Cell Using
Activated Carbon Granules to Improve Electron Transfer.”
Growing up with three dogs and a cat, Santiago knew early on
that she wanted to be a veterinarian.
“It’s always been my dream to help animals,” said Santiago, “and
to work with zoo animals to make them more engaged, and allow their
habitats to reflect more of what they would be exposed to if they
were in their natural habitat.”
Recently, while taking a study break, Santiago noted the calming
effect of dogs from the Hudson Valley Visiting Pets program who
were at the Mount to help students unwind during final exam
She credits family and friends, the Mount science division, and
Career Center for her undergraduate success.
From the beginning of her time at the Mount, said Santiago,
they’ve been “encouraging me to keep going on the path that is my
Mount natural science alums include Dr. Amy (Dziezynski) Karls
’95, veterinarian, Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc., and Nelson Rita ’99,
associate clinical trial manager, Mannkind Corporation.