The instant she passed through the doors of Cabrini’s Antoinette Iadarola Center for Science, Education, and Technology, Melinda Harrison, Ph.D., was impressed.
In fact, Harrison rates the Iadarola Center as one of the main reasons she joined the Cabrini faculty in 2008.
“The science building is a hidden gem, a completely modern facility,” Harrison says.
“The students who take courses here get a cutting-edge feel for science, and faculty members take pride in teaching and conducting research projects.”
At the Center, she also saw firsthand meaningful educational interaction between professors and students, which she thinks is imperative to a student's well-rounded education.
“I believe that to teach effectively in the sciences, you need to have close, personal [faculty] attention,” she says. “I saw this at Cabrini.”
This philosophy of teaching is helping to bring real-world experience into the classroom, as Harrison aims to instill in her students the concept that science is an essential part of life.
In 2008, Cabrini was one of only 12 colleges and universities in the U.S. accepted into the 2009 Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) Science Education Alliance (SEA).
Harrison and David Dunbar, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, received an educational grant from HHMI, which funds a research-based introductory biology course for the 2009-10, 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 academic years.
Harrison and Dunbar teach the biology course built around a national experiment in bacteriophage genomics. (A bacteriophage, or phage, is a virus that infects bacteria.) Her students present research at the Pennsylvania Academy of Science Conferences each spring.
Her extracurricular research interests include wine chemistry, and studying how the chemicals in wood used in casks permeate the wine, lending distinct flavors and aromas; and investigating how selenium, a chemical element, is regulated in a normal cell and how much selenium is needed for survival.
Harrison earned a doctoral degree in chemistry from Duquesne University, and bachelor’s degrees in chemistry and criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
Harrison resides in Reading, Pa. In her free time, she volunteers at local high schools promoting science awareness through demonstrations.
“Cabrini is a wonderful place to earn an education,” Harrison says. “There are so many places for a student to get involved and grow throughout his or her time here.”
Contact Information: Melinda Harrison, Ph.D. Assistant Professor, Chemistry Iadarola Center, Room 304 610-902-8405 firstname.lastname@example.org