I can vividly remember my first class at Fairmont State. I sat down in Bio185 frightened to death and then Dr. Mark Flood began. It was at this point I knew I was going to appreciate the decision to attend Fairmont State. The smaller classes, focused attention and student-oriented environment appealed to me. During the course of my four years I was able to participate in a myriad of research projects with various faculty members. My largest project, dealing with the molecular phylogeny of plasmodial slime-molds, permitted me to work during two summers under the skilled guidance of Dr. Mark Flood and Dr. Steve Stephenson. Through this project I attended sessions of the West Virginia Academy of Science, the University of Maryland Baltimore County Honors Research Symposium, The National Conference on Undergraduate Research (held in Salt Lake Utah) and traveled to Puerto Rico. I was also fortunate enough to work with Dr. Matthew Scanlon on the synthesis of a conducting molecular wire. This project is the ground level for nanochemistry, a field that is already beginning to transform the face of modern medical and pharmaceutical practice. While attending Fairmont State, on a full academic scholarship, I was Vice President of Beta Beta Beta (biology honors society), a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS) and an officer of Tau Kappa Epsilon Fraternity. I also enjoyed playing countless games of racquetball with the same faculty that were teaching my classes. The four years I spent at Fairmont State were the most memorable of my life. I made numerous friends from all parts of the world and got to observe, learn and experience many things I never would have at a much larger university. Upon graduation I began working at Mylan Pharmaceuticals as a liquid chromatography analyst. While at Mylan I was tutoring two students in organic chemistry, one of whom turned me on to the idea of obtaining my degree as a doctor of pharmacy. I am at present a member of the WVU School of Pharmacy Class of 2008.
Focus your time at Fairmont State on understanding the concepts presented to you and not on making grades. If you understand how and why things happen the grades will follow. The understanding, as opposed to short-term memorization, of fundamental concepts will provide an excellent foundation for all your future endeavors and make further academic achievement far less vexing. The second piece of advice is to never forget where you came from. Our states, towns, families and our experiences shape who we are as individuals. All the education in the world will not carry you far if you can’t communicate in an assertive yet reverent and well-grounded manner.
The most important thing I learned at Fairmont State happens to be the most important thing I believe I will ever learn…the ability to think. Most students believe this ability is natural, not by a long shot. The ability to pool information and condense it into a usable thought has served me well in both academia and in patient care settings.