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Checking in with Drew University’s Recent Grads

Three members of C’20 provide updates from life beyond The Forest and give props to their profs

August 2020 – Just three months after graduating (virtually) in May, the Drew University Class of 2020 is flourishing in the real world. We checked in with a few of Drew’s newest alums as they enter the workforce.

Shehab Marzouk – Field Organizer for the Amy McGrath U.S. Senate Campaign (Kentucky)

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Marzouk was on the men's swimming & diving team.

The gig: “My responsibilities include getting in contact with key community leaders, recruiting and training volunteers to connect with voters, planning and hosting events with community members, empowering community members to organize and planning field strategies in order to educate voters on our candidate and the impact of voting.”

Is this where you thought you’d end up? “When I first came to Drew I knew I wanted to work on a campaign. I would’ve never thought the job I have after graduating would be on one of the most important campaigns in 2020.”

How did Drew prepare you for this role? “Drew gave me the opportunity to intern with the Morris County Democratic Committee. Drew also allowed me to start and provided support for the Drew Student Voter Project. The political science department professors were an amazing resource when I started the Drew Student Voter Project. Professor Carter was our faculty advisor and he led us on a path for success in registering students to vote. Also, when I was writing my capstone and other independent research papers, support and advice from Professors Lokaneeta and Mundo allowed me to firmly realize that this was the field I wanted to pursue, and in the end that’s exactly what I’ve done. I have never been happier with my choice of going to Drew.”

Stefanie DeFronzo – Associate Researcher at the Systems Bioengineering Laboratory (Nephrology) at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

The gig: “I’ll be responsible for conducting experiments, analyzing and interpreting data and assisting in the organization and safety of the lab environment. I’ll be working on a tissue engineering project to develop a kidney-on-chip model for studying glomerular disease mechanisms and will also be taking over a project involving the antibiotic Vancomycin and kidney injury.”

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DeFronzo originally came to Drew due to its top 10 theatre program.

Is this where you thought you’d end up? “When I first came to Drew, I didn’t even know what I wanted to major in! My first semester was filled with courses from Introductory Theatre to Neuroscience 101, and my amazing first-year advisor, Dr. Sandra Jamieson, helped me narrow things down. Along my path, I discovered my passion for biochemistry and molecular biology (while still keeping courses like religion and poetry in my week).”

How did Drew prepare you for this role? “The largest thing that helped me attain (and feel comfortable in) an associate researcher position was the extensive experience I got in the lab at Drew. From the second semester of my very first year on campus, I was working in RISE Fellow Dr. Marvin Bayne’s lab. Almost everyday during the semesters, as well as during two summers of the Drew Summer Science Institute, I found myself in the lab working on various projects. I culminated my research by completing and defending an honors thesis related to this lab work. This experience, along with the unfaltering assistance and confidence of my extraordinary professors and advisors, prepared me for life after Drew.”

Gabe Lima – Research Assistant at the Northwestern University School of Medicine

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Lima talks with his academic and research advisor Prof. Patrick Dolan.

The gig: “I’m helping to conduct behavioral research focused on improving access to hearing healthcare. This includes administering surveys and interviews, collecting and analyzing data and coordinating fund distribution among multiple sponsors and clinical sites.”

Is this where you thought you’d end up? “Not at all. I actually started my first semester at Drew as a computer science major, but then soon found that I wanted to work with something a lot more complicated and unpredictable than computers: people.”

How did Drew prepare you for this role? “I am very fortunate to have had the chance to work on research through the Drew Summer Science Institute, as well as complete two research internships at kindness.org and NYU Langone Health. These experiences helped me consolidate my interest in the field and pursue a career after Drew.”

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