By Michele Tallarita ’12
Mary Higgins ’15 (Annandale, N.J.) has many passions: genetics, music, research, and working with people with developmental disorders.
Her goal is to put them all together into a career, and she is well on her way after receiving a Goldwater Scholarship. The premier undergraduate award given to students of mathematics, science, or engineering for academic merit, the Goldwater covers college costs up to $7,500 in the next academic year.
A biology major and mathematics minor, Higgins wants to pursue an M.D.-Ph.D. in human genetics or a related field.
She has worked with Robert Kurt, professor and head of biology, through Lafayette’s EXCEL Scholars undergraduate research program on two projects focusing on cancer patients’ immune systems and the behaviors of tumor cells. She also participated in the Summer Undergraduate Research program at Wayne State University, where she contributed to work that could be used to form better treatments for atherosclerosis and aneurisms.
At Lafayette, Higgins participates in Best Buddies, which forges friendships between college students and mentally or physically challenged individuals. She also coordinates a music therapy program at Sharing The Caring, an adult day care center.
“I’m really interested in going into research on developmental disorders so I can discover why people have these disorders, and how we can treat them and lessen the effects,” she says.
Higgins also is president and former travel coordinator for the Alternative School Break club. She has served on trips to Tennessee, Newark, and Chicago, learning about environmental issues, urban poverty, and education.
For information on applying for scholarships and fellowships, contact Julia A. Goldberg, associate dean of the College, (610) 330-5521.