News - Equipped, Experienced and Confident

Equipped, Experienced and Confident

Equipped, Experienced and Confident

By Carla Morris

Playing ball rather than watching from the bench is how Colorado-based family physician Mandy (Bristol ’04) Swanson describes the hands-on experience she gained as a pre-med student at Greenville College.  

“We, as students, were always leaders because we had to be,” she told health care professionals who reunited on campus recently to trade stories about the transition from college to careers in microbiology, urology, oncology and more.

Mandy added that her hands-on experience with advanced instruments under the guidance of professors like Eugene Dunkley served her well as a medical student. Though initially intimidated by the prospect of studying alongside students from Duke University and Harvard, Mandy gained confidence when she realized her classmates had never touched lab equipment that she had grown accustomed to using.

Putting advanced instruments in the hands of students remains a priority for the sciences at GC. “We have added over $200,000, closer to $300,000, worth of scientific instrumentation within the last ten years,” says Director of STEM Programs Darrell Iler.

Coupled with ingenuity from GC professors, financial support from alumni and friends of the College goes far. Two years ago, Associate Professor of Physics Hyung Choi led students in constructing a quantum information lab in Snyder Hall. Donors funded the innovation that has since benefited student research. When Choi addressed alumni at the recent reunion, he acknowledged his predecessor Hugh Siefken for setting an example of building as an alternative to buying. The ion accelerator Siefken built during his tenure as professor of physics at GC gave students access to the only ion accelerator in Illinois south of Urbana.

Just recently, Choi secured optics and photonics equipment to furnish the quantum information lab. Valued at more than $84,000, the gift from the Newport Corporation promises to keep students even more engaged on the physics playing field in days to come.

This story was published on July 14, 2016

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