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Creating Our Future: The Campaign for SKIDMORE

Meet Sarah Finnegan ’22

May 7, 2021

Sarah FinneganWhen COVID-19 and the abrupt transition to distance learning challenged higher education’s STEM community, summer collaborative research offered chemistry major Sarah Finnegan ’22 the opportunity to participate remotely in the multi-institutional MICRO Project, led by Chemistry Professor Kim Frederick.

The MICRO Project developed a set of lab materials to support more engagement through distance learning and made conducting labs at home during COVID possible. For the fall 2020 semester, approximately 35 institutions — including Skidmore — and more than 1,000 students implemented these labs in their remote chemistry courses. The Schupf team presented their work at Pittcon, the world’s leading conference on laboratory science, in March 2021.

“This work has been both informative and rewarding, and it would not have been possible without contributions from the Schupf summer collaborative research donors,” said Finnegan.

Since her summer work on the MICRO Project, she spent the fall creating physical lab kits to provide to students in CH125 classes. This spring, Finnegan worked at an anatomic pathology lab in Boston, where she put to use some of the research skills she learned at Skidmore while gaining new experience working in the medical industry as a young professional. She is currently considering two internship offers from engineering start-ups as well as a research assistant opportunity at a Harvard chemistry lab.

“I believe my summer collaborative research experience was a key selling point in securing these engineering-based opportunities, as it helped me gain many diverse skills that I may not have acquired within just the traditional chemistry program,” said Finnegan. “It provided an opportunity to participate in research during a time when it seemed impossible.”

This upcoming academic year, she will continue to work toward her degree and begin applying to graduate school, where she plans to continue her studies in analytical chemistry in hopes of becoming a professor and conducting research at a higher education institution.