By: Madeline Marriott ’24

Two women are standing and smiling at the camera. One woman is holding a glass of wine.

Abby Mack ’24 and Megan Beste, U.S. Congresswoman Susan Wild’s Office, are picture at the Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s Connect@ event held at the College,

Dozens of science-minded networkers packed the Dyer Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship on Thursday, Feb. 8 for Life Sciences Pennsylvania’s “Connect@” event, an evening that saw a crossover of the Lehigh Valley’s leading science employers and some of Lafayette’s brightest minds. 

“We’re very proud in the Lehigh Valley of the base of life sciences companies we have here, and equally proud of all these great higher education institutions, which feed the pipeline of talent that make the growth of this sector possible,” said Don Cunningham, president and CEO of the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC).

LVEDC co-sponsored the event alongside the College. 

Students from across disciplines showcased their work at the event. Ainsley Carlson ’24 presented her research on disparities in mental health treatment across lines of gender, race, and sexuality. 

“I think a lot of people would be interested in this research, especially at places like St. Luke’s or the Lehigh Valley Health Network,” Carlson says. “It’ll be great to talk to them and I’m glad I get to inform these people.”

Carlson’s work was just one of many on display in the Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center; guests from more than 40 companies were represented, such as B. Braun, Johnson & Johnson, Olympus, and more. They were able to see every facet of Lafayette’s life sciences program, from a student-made documentary on two alumni Nobel laureates in medicine to research presentations in the biology, chemistry, and neuroscience laboratories. 

Abigail Harr ’25 is one of the neuroscience students who had the opportunity to present her work. As part of Dr. Henry Hallock’s research team, Harr has been studying the effect of a gene called APOE on focus in mice. 

According to Harr, the team’s research findings have real-world applications that she was excited to discuss with the industry professionals. 

“We have these really interesting results that shed light not only on what APOE is doing, but also on the cortical circuits between male and female mice,” Harr says. “We do see a lot of sex differences in attention deficit disorders, so it’s helpful to tease all of this out.”

Students were encouraged to forge connections with people from across the industry. 

“We’ve set up these tours just to give you a taste of the incredible talent here at Lafayette,” Dean of Natural Sciences Lisa Gabel said in her opening remarks. “If you want talent, we’ve got talent— meet our students and go get that top talent.” 

At Lafayette, more than 40% of students participate in research with a faculty member by their senior year. The benefits of these opportunities are limitless as students have the ability to learn and work alongside faculty, co-author publications, and more. Many Lafayette faculty can speak, firsthand, about the benefits of undergraduate research. Additional faculty in attendance included James Dearworth, department head and associate professor of biology; Luis Schettino, program chair of neuroscience and associate professor of psychology; and Wendy Hill, director, Hanson Center for Inclusive STEM Education. 

This event was made possible by a contribution from Emeritus Trustee Don Morel ’79 and organized by the College’s Corporate Connections committee, Corporate Connections · Development · Lafayette College, which cultivates corporate relationships and partnerships with Lafayette.

Categorized in: Corporate, Featured News, Foundation, News and Features, Students

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