Success Stories

Biochemistry Alumna Credits Her Overall UHart Experience With Her Success as She Pursues a PhD

September 01, 2021
Abigail Myers
Abigail Myers '21

Abigail (Abby) Myers is pursuing her PhD in neuroscience at the University of Vermont, but says it was the undergraduate experiences she had at UHart that set her up for success! A love of the subject matter, working hard in the classroom, being involved in extracurricular activities, and developing relationships with professors set Myers apart from other graduate school applicants as she began exploring her future beyond UHart. 

It was a general fascination with science that inspired Myers to pursue studying biochemistry at UHart’s College of Arts and Sciences. The biochemistry curriculum is designed to help students pursue graduate work in chemistry or biology, and/or acquire the skills necessary for a career in healthcare and science. “With a biochemistry major, I knew I would be able to explore a wide range of scientific topics, all while learning applicable techniques,” says Myers.  

“The classes I took at UHart gave me a detailed understanding of the scientific concepts I would need to know to have a successful career in neuroscience,” she says. Additionally, lab courses provided her with a hands-on environment to learn. She believes her classes and labs were “very beneficial to her career advancements.” 

As a member of the Honors program, Myers was exposed to additional classes and experiences that she says she normally would not have sought out.  The Honors program includes access to exceptional courses, interdisciplinary seminars, faculty mentoring, and senior projects. “Specifically, I was given opportunities to present and speak about my scientific work. This was very useful as I completed interviews for graduate school.” 

One of the most influential experiences Myers had during her time at UHart was working on cellular research in  Assistant Professor Andrew Koob's neurobiology lab. She points out that since UHart is a smaller university, it gave her more opportunities to work closely with professors, leading to connections that will be beneficial throughout her career.  

“Dr. Koob introduced me to the field of scientific research, and I would not have the opportunities that I have today without his dedication to my success,” says Myers.  “Under his mentorship, and with support from the Honors program, I was able to complete a senior honors thesis. This opportunity absolutely played a role in my admission to the University of Vermont neuroscience program.”  

In addition to strong academic performance in the classroom and lab, Myers was able to form valuable connections and gain experiences that made her stand out as an applicant at UVM.  She says that being a member of the Women's Track and Field team taught her a great deal about the teamwork she would need to excel in a rigorous PhD program and credits her professors, classmates, teammates, coaches, and friends as having an important impact on her future. 

In addition to the Women's Track and Field team, Myers served on the student athlete advisory committee, the Hartford Chapter of The Hidden Opponent, and was a peer support workshop leader and a teaching assistant. Her favorite UHart memories come from University activities such as First Flight, Midnight Breakfast, and sporting events, as well as dinner at BlueBack Square and hiking at Talcott Mountain. 

What advice does Myers have for incoming students? She encourages incoming students to get involved as much as possible on campus and keep their goal of post-college success in mind.  “Spend time with friends within and outside of your major, build relationships with your professors, join clubs, and attend events put on by the University. Also, remember your goal after graduation – whether it is graduate school, medical school, or a dream job. Having a goal will always help you through long days of classes and late nights doing homework!” 

The classes I took at UHart gave me a detailed understanding of the scientific concepts I would need to know to have a successful career in neuroscience. Lab courses, in which I learned in a hands-on environment, were also very beneficial to my career advancements.

Abigail Myers, '21