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Biology

At Hamilton, which has a new, state-of-the-art science center, you will conduct research alongside professors and receive the support you need to succeed. The emphasis on lab work and research means you will have many opportunities to learn outside the classroom. The skills you develop will help you wherever your studies take you.

Abby Martin ’14 in Kenya.
Abby Martin ’14 in Kenya during an internship with The Africa Health Network at Voice of America.

A student’s explorations: a varied route to med school

Abigail Martin ’14 headed to college expecting to major in biology, work for a year after graduation and push on to medical school. She had fun striding out of her pre-med comfort zone, but her core interests held true. Martin learned she loves art history and secured a College science research grant. And she still wants to go to med school.

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She spent a semester in Kenya in a program that allowed her to travel and do independent study at a teaching hospital. Through an internship, Martin worked for a summer as a reporter at The Africa Health Network at Voice of America.

She picked Hamilton College in part for the opportunities it offers to do in-depth research: The science grant allowed her to spend a summer working with David Gapp, the Silas D. Childs Professor of Biology, on a project that addresses the “hygiene hypothesis.”

Martin’s senior project builds on that research. The senior project, she says, is a challenging way to finish out a major and a great opportunity for scholarship.

“It’s not necessarily what the professor wants you to do or what the department wants you to do. And you get to do it like on your own, so it’s pretty exciting – but with the help with of fellow bio majors as well,” she says.


Allison Demas '07 in the field in Senegal when she was a Fulbright fellow.

A graduate’s progress: study at Harvard

Allison Demas ’07 is using the tools and techniques of molecular biology to study Plasmodium falciparum, the parasite that causes malaria. She is pursuing a doctorate in the Biological Sciences in Public Health program at the Harvard School of Public Health – and steaming toward her goal.

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“Long-term, I plan to stay in infectious research and achieve a balance between basic science and applied public health research. I’m also interested in teaching and capacity-building in countries with less-developed scientific research infrastructure,” Demas says.

At Hamilton College, she majored in biology and minored in French, which came in handy when doing fieldwork in French-speaking West Africa. She spent the year after graduation as a Fulbright fellow in Senegal on a collaborative team investigating drug resistance in malaria parasites and malaria in pregnant women. The team included the Harvard School of Public Health.

She spent the next two years as a training fellow in emerging infectious disease research in the malaria branch of the Centers for Disease Control. Now, at Harvard, she’s once again part of the Senegal collaboration.