Awards 2017

2017 Henry Barnard Student Awards

Elizabeth Del Buono

Elizabeth-Del-BuonoA first-generation college student, Del Buono says she chose Eastern because she believed the close relationships with faculty, liberal arts curriculum and small class sizes found at the university would help her to navigate college, and allow her to develop academically and personally. Del Buono graduated with a 3.85 GPA and a strong background in genetics-related research. She has conducted research on genetics related to cancer and developmental disorders with Biology Professor Amy Groth; interned at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine where she conducted research on breast cancer genomics; received several research grants to support her work; and presented her research at a number of professional biology conferences.

On campus, Del Buono has served as a teaching assistant to Groth; helped re-establish the Pre-Health Society, a student group that provides peer information on health care careers; organized field trips to health clinics in Ghana, West Africa; and planned visits to science museums in New York City and elsewhere.

Del Buono plans to earn a master’s degree in genetic counseling, a field that will allow her to help clients understand genetic risks to their health and to make important life decisions. She credits her parents for supporting her to become “a scientist, confident student, student leader and advocate because they sacrificed so much for me to be able to go to college and get an education.”

Kevin Connolly

Kevin-ConnollyConnolly, a member of Eastern’s Honors Program, qualified with a 3.88 GPA. His research is in the area of collagen production, aligning with his career interest in becoming a plastic surgeon. Collagen is a protein that supports healthy skin. Connolly hopes his research will prevent surgery and the risk of invasive injection procedures.

Biology Professor Barbara Murdoch allowed Connolly to formulate and perfect his own research, and for that, he is grateful. “Dr. Murdoch has always been in my corner. She’s been my mentor for four years, and I really owe her a lot,” said Connolly

Motivated by Murdoch, Professor Emeritus Michael Gable, his advisor Professor Patricia Szczys, and nationally recognized neurobiologist and Eastern alumnus Marc Freeman, Connolly has won several scholarships to fund his academic research. He has conducted research with other biology students in California and Nevada, traveled to several countries and will participate in a field course in Costa Rica this summer. He has presented his research at local and regional professional biology conferences, including the Eastern Colleges Science Conference and the Northeast Regional Honors Conferences, both in Pennsylvania.

Outside of the laboratory, Connolly is involved in a number of on-campus leadership roles, serving as president of the Honors Club; as vice president of the Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society; as an officer of the UNICEF club; and as a member of the Tri-Beta Honors Society for biology majors. Connolly is applying to graduate programs in biomedical science, with plans to earn his master’s and doctoral degrees.