Alumni News With Research Fund, Alumna Honors “Ah-Ha” Moments for Students

September 27, 2022

A Hawks in Flight Feature

Dr. Susan Perry ’86 knows the importance of that “Ah-ha” moment to students studying the sciences.

“I had been a biology and chemistry double major, but in my senior year, I had a professor who, for the first time, merged the two of them in his class,” she says. “It was that moment that I knew I could find my path.”

Now the Assistant Dean of Academic Affairs in the Rossin College of Engineering & Applied Sciences, and a Full Professor of Teaching and Director of Masters Programs in the Department of Bioengineering at Lehigh University, Perry had another “ah-ha” moment when she connected with Hartwick’s Institutional Advancement office, which helped her establish the new Research in Science and Health Fund.

The award provides financial assistance to help cover conference fees, research supplies and travel expenses for a Hartwick student who is conducting research in the sciences, mathematics or a health-related field.

“I’ve always believed in experiential learning,” she says. “I want to provide research opportunities for students because I believe deeply in the things they can gain from in-depth, creative inquiry.”

Erin McCree ‘22, a chemistry and Environment, Sustainability and Society double-major, used the inaugural award to purchase lab supplies to continue her senior thesis research on the water quality in Charlotte Creek. The most recent recipient was Tristani Makharashvili ‘24, a computer science and math double major with a physics minor.

Perry hopes the fund can provide award recipients with those same transformative experiences she had as a Hartwick student.

“Getting to meet other people who were moving research forward, people who were excited about the same things I was excited about, was an eye-opening experience for me,” she says.

Perry has long been active with helping Hartwick students develop their passions, participating in the Washington D.C. leg of Career HOP – formerly MetroLink – while she was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institutes of Health. For Career HOP, she joined alumni career panels and mentored students who reached out to her through the Hartwick Alumni Mentor program and TrueBlue Connect.

“I’m happy to be able to do this,” she says. “I’ve always been committed to providing those opportunities to students for their spark to be ignited.”