Alex Francette is a 2018 Clarion University graduate with majors in molecular biology/biotechnology and biochemistry.
His passion for the field of biology was inflamed during high school as a result of enrollment into a dual-education undergraduate biology course. Francette ultimately chose to attend Clarion University to pursue this passion after attending the university's Summer Academy.
"I talked with a professor in the Science and Technology Center and as he described to me the research the faculty conducted at Clarion... I knew I wanted to know more," Francette said.
After this encounter, Francette applied to Clarion University and was awarded a full four-year scholarship for his academic merit. While attending Clarion, Francette was a member of the Honors Program, served as treasurer and president of the Translational Research/Medicine Club, and wrote for the Molecular Biology Journal Club.
In addition, Francette worked and has continued to work alongside his research advisor, Dr. Doug Smith, in a research project focused on examining blood stem cells.
Prior to his senior year at Clarion, Francette procured a prestigious 10-week internship with the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in Long Island, New York. The program equipped Alex with experience using techniques attributed to genetic engineering, single molecule technologies, epigenetics, computational biology, and many other biologically-related fields.
Since graduation, Francette has been enrolled in a molecular cell and developmental biology Ph.D. program at the University of Pittsburgh, where he plans to finish his graduate degree in an accelerated six years.
He credits his successes to the relentless support and advice of Clarion University's staff and to the overwhelming opportunities he has received throughout his undergraduate education.
To current and future students, he advises "to learn your own strengths and weaknesses and work with or around them. Above all, reach out for help early and often."
I'm a junior at Clarion University studying environmental biology. I'm also president of the Clarion Chapter Wildlife Society, where I've been a member since 2016, and a member of Clarion's Green Team which is dedicated to boosting campus recycling.
In addition, I'm part of CRU- a campus-based Christian organization- as a co-leader for the women's ministry. I'm a sorority member for Phi Eta Sigma, a student of the Honor Society, and work for the National Society of Leadership and Success.
I've become involved in several research projects, alongside fellow students and faculty, devoted to analyzing and investigating problems and intricacies of wildlife in Clarion's forests and surrounding areas.
By studying abroad in New Zealand in the early fall before my sophomore year, I earned six academic credits through courses in International Business and Earth Science. I found the entire experience to be enriching and humbling. I felt challenged to go a bit outside of my environmental biology courses, but it gave me an advantage over my peers.
I enjoyed getting the opportunity to learn from New Zealand's agriculture, topography, and the area's indigenous Maori population. I was able to observe the environmentally conscious country's practices in sustainability of agriculture and wildlife.
I hope to take the knowledge from my time in New Zealand to strive to make the U.S. as environmentally aware as New Zealand, whether that be on campus or through my career one day. I will also encourage everyone to travel somewhere, experience new things, and reach beyond their comfort zone because that is how you will find yourself and learn the most.
While my future plans remain fluid at this point, I know that I will never cease to inform others of environmental issues and ways to remain conscious of their interactions with the natural world. I will continue to share my faith with others, showing nature as God's glory.
As a high school senior with my eyes set on a career in pharmacy, Clarion University seemed like the perfect fit. A university with a strong background in biology and pre-professional programs, coupled with an affiliation agreement with the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), I knew Clarion would provide me with a multitude of opportunities.
Clarion’s tremendous faculty, namely Dr. Doug Smith and advisor Larry Bering, assisted in navigating the challenging path to my ultimate goal, admission to the LECOM School of Pharmacy. Not only did they impart knowledge needed to prepare me for a doctoral level program, but also an inspiration for achievement that I have carried with me long past my time at Clarion. Following completion of the initial two-year phase of the Clarion-LECOM affiliation agreement, I transitioned to the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine School of Pharmacy in the autumn of 2012, ultimately earning my Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm D.) in May 2015.
Upon graduation I accepted a position as a staff pharmacist at Affinity Medical Center in Massillon, Ohio, and have recently been promoted to the role of clinical pharmacist. As a clinical pharmacist, I collaborate with physicians during patient rounds, monitor drug levels for their therapeutic effects and assist providers in optimizing a patient’s medication therapy. I am also the leader of our antimicrobial stewardship team, which works to ensure the proper use of antibiotics at our facility and prevent antimicrobial resistance. The education I received at Clarion, specifically through the chemistry and biology programs, no doubt empowered me to succeed in an accelerated doctoral program.
The foundational knowledge acquired at Clarion, and most notably, the inspiration for continued education and achievement from Dr. Doug Smith, have shaped the medical professional I am today. I truly believe Clarion to be at the forefront in preparing students for successful careers in healthcare.
I am an environmental biology major at Clarion. I have always been interested in the environment, and was always playing in the woods and splashing in the creeks as a child. I guess that I chose to be an environmental biology major because I wanted to protect what I grew up in. Part of my reasoning for coming to Clarion was the possibility to work on undergraduate research. My focus of my research is aquatic entomology, or the study of aquatic insects.
Currently, I am preparing for an internship with the National Audubon Institute's Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans, where I will be one of five interns who will be making presentations and helping visitors. One of the main reasons that I got this internship was that I had experience in research, and I honestly don't think I would have had a chance for this internship if I had gone anywhere else for my education.
For anybody thinking about coming to Clarion, I highly advise getting involved in research, and doing so early. Sometimes, the first lab you join just doesn't work, and it may take a few tries to find the right lab for you. Not only does it help you find people interested in the same things as you are, but it is a lot of fun at the same time.
I originally started my schooling at IUP to obtain a bachelor's degree in geoscience. I then transferred to Clarion my junior year. I will graduate this May with a Bachelor of Science degree in geoscience, a Bachelor of Science degree in environmental geoscience, minor in geography, and an Oil/Gas Paralegal Certificate. I originally planned on getting into the oil and gas field. While recovering now, halfway through my schooling, the industry went into a slump so I began looking for alternative fields of work. I didn't switch my major, only added a degree, minor, and certificate.
I use my education from Clarion consistently. I've taken knowledge learned from an array of classes and applied it in different ways. I wouldn't say it's about a single degree. It's about applying all of your studies to real world situations and connecting the dots to reach your goal.
I wasn't a business major so I started reading and doing research on my own, hoping something would materialize out of it. I decided to buy my first drone just to take pictures as a side hustle because I didn't notice anyone else doing it, that's when I realized just how advanced these machines were getting. I used to work in the Marcellus Shale gas field and in the construction industry. I saw a lot of potential for industrial applications. I was able to make sense of the data I was generating from what I learned in Dr. Yasser's Geographic Information Systems classes and later in Dr. Kazars Remote Sensing class. A lot of my other classes helped me understand how things worked in regards to science and business, as well.
My business, Enhanced Visual, focuses on integrating and developing unmanned aerial systems. Our mission is to educate, guide and collaborate with companies across industries to cut costs and increase efficiency by leveraging drone technology. We provide our own pilots and specialized services but also offer consulting and training services by navigating hardware, software, and FAA regulations.
After forming the business in the spring of 2017, I honestly didn't want to complete my final year of school. I wanted to continue to develop my business full-time but I'm glad I decided to finish this year. It's hard to attribute my success to one attribute. Tracy Reinsel at the SBDC, campus faculty, and school resources have all helped immensely. Not to mention, I wouldn't have gotten the opportunity to compete in the business competition if I had not finished school.
I have been proactively preparing and developing my services the past two semesters but I am looking forward to working on Enhanced Visual full-time after graduation.