Robert Corba '22
Following graduation, Robert “R.J.” Corba ’22 will join Memorial Sloan Kettering in New York City as a clinical research coordinator.

Corba, a biochemistry major from Orefield, Pa., will conduct clinical research at Sloan Kettering as a part of his ultimate goal to be a physician. Though he wasn’t confident in his interests entering Hamilton, through shadowing and exploring different aspects of chemistry, psychology, and biology, Corba found a passion for biochemistry. He cites Sociology of Health and Illness, Health Systems, Bioinformatics, and Genetic Medicine as especially influential classes.

Ultimately, Corba was drawn to clinical research by its practical nature. “It’s a way to make a tangible difference. I’ve learned that the findings of clinical research are really actionable. I can show this medicine is really working, this procedure is effective.”

Corba’s preference for clinical research over experimental labs was cemented through shadowing at St. Luke’s University Hospital Bethlehem in Pennsylvania. “It was really cool to work with human data, real people’s stories. It was what made me decide to work in clinical research instead of a wet lab.”

Corba further explored his passion for fostering connections as co-director of Sidekicks, a mentorship-based program with the local community, through COOP. “Sidekicks reinforced my intuition that I like working with people. It was really rewarding to work with kids and foster relationships like that, and I hopefully want to do the same as a physician,” he said.

Robert “R.J.” Corba ’22

Major: Biochemistry
Hometown: Orefield, Pa.
High school:  Parkland Senior High School
Activities: Lacrosse team and co-director of Sidekicks

His emphasis on the importance of human connections extends within and outside Hamilton. Corba especially appreciated the help given by Assistant Professor of Biology Natalie Nannas, Dean of Admission Peaches Valdes, Men’s Lacrosse Coach Scott Barnard, and Professor of Biology Wei Jen Chang. Corba described Chang as “a phenomenal professor, advisor, and friend throughout my four years at Hamilton. [He] was instrumental in fostering my passion for bioinformatics and genetics, and I thank him greatly for his constant support and wisdom.” Corba similarly credits his confidence and experience to Nannas, and raved about Valdes’ professionalism and advice.

Coach Scott Barnard was also a constant presence throughout Corba’s career as a lacrosse player, guiding him through the years. “Coach B has helped keep me grounded and process driven throughout my four years at Hamilton,” Corba said. “The team culture we have raised based on the pillar of strong work ethic has truly allowed me to keep chopping at my goals and aspirations along the way.”

Looking forward, Corba is eager to focus on research and explore New York City and his career. “Hamilton provided a great space for me to learn who I was and what I stand for; now I feel ready to test my current, fulfilled self against the real world,” he said.

He leaves current students with this advice: “What makes Hamilton College Hamilton College are the people here. My advice is to make the most of every connection you can form, because the people here are what makes the college so special. Relax and stay true. Everything will work out somehow, as long as you keep your efforts genuine and consistent.”

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