When Stephanie Jackvony ’18 interned at the renowned Bradley Hospital in Rhode Island, the synapses began firing. Working at America’s first hospital devoted entirely to child psychiatry put Jackvony on a career path in neuroscience.
“The experience at Bradley Hospital really helped me realize my passion for neuroscience and, more specifically, for conducting research in neuroscience,” Jackvony said.
This spring, Jackvony became the sixth Conn student in eight years to be awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for excellence in science, math and engineering. She says she’s particularly drawn to the fight against devastating neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.
But ultimately her goal “is to become a professor at an undergraduate institution, preferably a small liberal arts school like Connecticut College.”
In 1986, Congress established the Goldwater Scholarship in honor of Arizona Senator and 1964 Republican presidential nominee Barry M. Goldwater when he retired from the Senate.
As a sophomore, Jackvony coauthored a report on research involving synthesis and characterizations of new manganese oxide nanoparticles which she had conducted with Stanton Ching, the Margaret W. Kelly Professor of Chemistry.
That focus on getting a head start at gaining solid research experience is an essential component of the College’s approach to the sciences, and Marc Zimmer, the Jean Tempel ’65 Professor of Chemistry and Conn’s Goldwater representative, credits that approach with the Goldwater winning streak.
“Our students have been very successful at applying for Goldwater Scholarships, mainly because we value research with our students in their early years,” Zimmer said.
A double major in behavioral neuroscience and philosophy, Jackvony plans to pursue a Ph.D. in neuroscience when she graduates. She’s eager to emphasize how grateful she is to the faculty she’s worked with.
“It’s clear that the professors here are extremely passionate about their students’ education and success,” Jackvony said. “They’re so willing to welcome students into their labs and take extra steps to prepare them for the world of academia outside of the College.”
Ching recalled giving Jackvony a chance to participate in his research last year, and how impressed he was with her performance.
“Even though I knew [Stephanie’s] interest was in neuroscience, I took her on as a summer research student [in chemistry] because she had expressed interest in gaining research experience in general,” Ching said.
“Her contributions were strong enough to allow me to finish the project and get it published, and for that she earned herself a spot on the list of co-authors.”
As a Goldwater recipient, Jackvony joins an impressive group of Connecticut College graduates, including Christopher Krupenye ’11, Kelsey Taylor ’11, Yumi Kovic ’13 and Leah Fleming ’16.
Krupenye earned a Ph.D. in evolutionary anthropology from Duke University and is now a postdoctoral researcher at Max Planck, where he is conducting research in the burgeoning field of evolutionary anthropology. Taylor earned a Ph.D. in biological and biomedical sciences at Harvard University and is now a senior analyst at Health Advances. Kovic is currently pursuing a medical degree and a master’s degree in public health from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine, while Fleming is a graduate student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Yale University.
As for Jackvony, she said her coursework at Conn has tracked perfectly with her career ambitions, and that she’s looking forward to applying what she’s learned in graduate school and beyond.
“I’m so grateful for the support and encouragement from my professors, and for the tools they’ve given me,” she said. “I hope to have such beneficial and inspiring relationships with my own students someday.”