January 11, 2010

Meghan Cicchi ’11 Excels in the Classroom and on the Field

Chemistry major and field hockey player has published research in an academic journal and received numerous athletic honors

Chemistry major Meghan Cicchi ’11 (Thousand Oaks, Calif.) has had many successes during her college career including publishing her research in an academic journal and receiving the Patriot League’s Field Hockey Rookie of the Year Award.

Cicchi has spent two summers and two semesters working as an EXCEL Scholar with Joseph Sherma, Larkin Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, and Bernard Fried, Kreider Professor Emeritus of Biology. Her work focused on the effects of estivation (a state of dormancy) on the concentration of carbohydrates in the blood, digestive glands, and gonads of two types snails. The work is related to the professors’ ongoing research involving parasitic infections in snails and mice and their relationship to human infections.

“This is an opportunity that I would likely not have found at most other colleges,” says Cicchi. “Working with Drs. Sherma and Fried has brought about a different type of relationship than that of just teacher/student. Although I very much consider them my mentors, it’s been more of a working relationship with much more two-way communication than in a purely lecture-oriented relationship.”

Cicchi was involved in all aspects of the project from collecting snails from a local pond, to dissecting and analyzing the samples, to writing and rewriting the paper. The work was published in the scientific journal Acta Chromatographica in 2009.

“[The publication] should definitely help me be more competitive in the application process,” she says. “It is proof that I have been able to apply what I have learned outside of a classroom environment and I think that is what graduate schools and companies are looking for.”

Cicchi has been an invaluable member of the defense of Lafayette’s field hockey team. In 2007, she was named field hockey Rookie of the Year, was selected to the All-Patriot League First Team, and received Longstreth/NFHCA Division I All-Mideast Region Second-Team honors.

She was selected to NFHCA’s Division I National Academic Squad in 2008 and the Longstreth/NFHCA Mideast All-Region First Field Hockey Team and Patriot League Academic Honor Roll in 2009. During her three years on the team, she has been named the Patriot League’s Field Hockey Defensive Player of the Week seven times.

“Meghan excels on the field not only because of her natural ability, but because she puts a lot of extra time into watching video and extra training sessions,” head coach Andrew Griffiths says. “She also excels in the classroom. She has a very challenging course load and has been able to handle it all really well.”

Cicchi plans on continuing her education after graduation, either in analytical research, like her recent project, or pursing pharmacy or medical school.

“Doing research with Drs. Sherma and Fried has been a great experience. I’ve found that I also enjoy the biological side of the research, something I haven’t really gotten to experience as a chemistry major. I think it’s made me open up and think more about what I can do with my major.”

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