Ashley Michele Pirovano

Class of 2013, Major in Biology

I attended Marymount Manhattan College (MMC) from 2009-2013. My experience was a little different, as I entered the school as a dance major. After taking classes in Human Physiology and Chemistry, I began to reconsider my major. I loved the challenge of such rigorous course work and the exploration that went along with laboratory studies. I could see that the professors were extremely knowledgeable and genuinely cared about teaching. Because of the excellent faculty, well-structured courses, and my fascination with chemistry and biology, I decided to change my major to biology.

During my time at MMC, I participated in research in the field of Environmental Chemistry with Dr. Leri as my advisor. This experience along with Dr. Leri’s encouragement helped me to realize my passion and potential for research. The valuable tools I learned, including lab skills, quantitative analysis, and poster design and presentation, have enabled me to reach this goal. I am currently a PhD student at SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry, studying phytoremediation.

The small class sizes and individual attention are really unique to MMC. Not only does this foster a great learning environment, but it also allows for a personal connection with the professors. The small lab course size has given me an advantage over some of my peers in graduate school, as I was taught how to use lab equipment properly. In a larger class, it would have been much easier to hide. Also, smaller class sizes allowed for more comprehensive exams, which helped me develop critical thinking skills. I am also fortunate to have participated in research at an undergraduate-only institution where I was not just washing glassware or doing a small part of a graduate student’s project. I had my own project and I was working nearly at the level of a graduate student. Now working as a graduate student, I can plan experiments and manage my time wisely. I am very grateful for the wonderful professors in the Department of Natural Sciences for all they have taught me.

Class Year and Major

Class of 2013, Major in Biology

Natural Sciences