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      Alumni Corner

      Nicole Gilette ‘16 Biology and Biochemistry

      nicole gilette

      Nicole Gilette

      Nicole Gilette will begin classes at Harvard Medical School in July, an accomplishment she credits Widener for helping her achieve.

      After a month-long vacation to Europe, Nicole Gilette '16 will be ready in July to begin her first year in a doctor of medicine/doctor of philosophy program at Harvard Medical School.

      The prestigious and highly competitive program will train Gilette to be a physician-scientist through a diverse curriculum of clinical disciplines combined with research training in the labs of leading investigators at Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

      After graduating from Widener with a dual degree in biology and biochemistry, Gilette joined the Boston Children's Hospital lab of Dr. Elizabeth Engle, whom she had worked with during the summer before her senior year. Gilette worked alongside Engle and post-doctoral fellows on research investigating the genetic causes, mechanisms and possible treatments of rare ocular motor disorders.

      Her time in Engle's lab inspired her to pursue the Harvard program with the goal of one day operating her own lab. The M.D.-Ph.D. degree will give Gilette the ability to join the healthcare field in a dual capacity within both the clinical and research realms.

      Gilette's long-term interests are in scientific research in order to contribute to improved patient care on a larger scale.

      "As I started to do more research and have more in-depth, impactful research experiences, I began to create this understanding that as a scientist I can impact so many more patients than I can ever physically effect as a clinician," Gilette said. "The things that we discover at the bench can become drugs and new therapies, and the better understanding of diseases can impact the world."

      Referencing back to her community engagement experiences while at Widener, Gilette is inspired to specialize in global health to examine disparities across the world and develop treatment strategies.

      "The blanket disparities that I learned about and experienced while working in the communities in Chester showed me that there was quite a lot more that I should be involved in and working on in life," Gilette said.

      In preparation for medical school, Gilette expressed her gratitude to Widener and credited her faculty and mentors for preparing her for this next chapter.

      "The kind of intimate, one-on-one level of personal mentorship that I got from professors in the biology department, and from any department, is very unique to a place like Widener," Gilette said.

      "I would not be the leader, the scientist or the kind of person that I am now if it were not for those interpersonal experiences that I had at Widener," she added. "And for that I'm grateful."


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