News

November 8, 2011

As a DAAD Young Ambassador, Laura Goldberg ’12 Combines Her Passions for German and Biology

Laura Goldberg ’12 in Würzburg, Germany

Laura Goldberg ’12 in Würzburg, Germany

By Michele Tallarita ’12

Laura Goldberg ’12 (Skillman, N.J.) is passionate about German and biology, and she can trace both of those passions back to her roots.

“First of all, my mom is originally from Germany (near Hanover), and my aunt still lives in Düsseldorf,” says Goldberg.  “Therefore, growing up I attended German school every weekend, and I would visit my aunt over the summer about every other year.”

And her passion for biology?  Both of her parents are scientists, so Goldberg thinks it might be in her DNA.  Plus, she’s always been fascinated with biology’s “living systems” and inspired by the science’s contributions to society in the form of cures and new technology.

Goldberg has a knack for bringing her two passions together.  A German and biology double major, she traveled to Germany to study the sciences last fall, receiving a scholarship from Deutscher Akademischer Austausch Dienst (DAAD), or the Academic Exchange Service Germany.  This semester, she was appointed a DAAD young ambassador, which means she plays a key role in helping to promote studying abroad in Germany to American undergraduates—a job in which she takes special interest in encouraging science majors to take the journey.

During her own experience in Germany, Goldberg studied at the University of Würzburg, where she put her biology background to use working in a lab.

“I mainly performed microbiology research on the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis, which infects the eyes and can eventually lead to blindness,” she says.  “Not only were the labs cutting edge and taught me advanced laboratory techniques, but this experience also allowed me to gain a whole new perspective on vision.”

The best part of the experience, she says, was being steeped in German culture.  “I felt a real sense of community in Würzburg, especially during the Christmas season,” she says.  “I loved the evenings when everyone would get together at the local Weihnachtsmarkt, sip Glühwein, and chat with friends.”

As a DAAD young ambassador, Goldberg encourages other students to venture outside their comfort zones and participate in an unfamiliar culture.  She especially endeavors to help science students go abroad, guiding them in the location of resources and programs that meld with their degrees.

“By serving as a DAAD young ambassador, I will strive to make students comfortable with the idea of designing their own course of study and empower them to take advantage of this terrific opportunity,” she says.

After graduation, Goldberg plans to continue helping people to see the world—by working in optometry.  Having recently been accepted to the New England College of Optometry in Boston, she plans to attend next fall.

On campus, Goldberg is co-president of the French Club.  She also does research with James Dearworth, associate professor of biology and chair of neuroscience, studying the circadian rhythms and papillary light response in red-eared slider turtles, and serves as an organic chemistry tutor.  She’s completing an honors thesis this year, and, of course, is a member of the German Club.

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  1. [...] — Laura Goldberg ’12 [B.S. biology/A.B. [...]

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