CHS Class of 2024 Spotlight: MMSC

May 22, 2024 Written by Amy Cherry | Photos by Ashley Barnas Larrimore

We're honoring the Class of 2024 by shining the spotlight on some of the best and brightest graduates from the Department of Medical and Molecular Sciences:

Emily Chan, a senior medical laboratory science major, has accepted a job as a medical technologist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Jersey. (Photo/Submitted by Emily Chan).

emily chan         


Medical Laboratory Science major


Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: 

Challenging. Enlightening. Home.

Why Emily chose UD?: "I chose UD because of the beautiful campus, good athletic department, and it’s a good distance away from home–not too close and not too far. I chose my major because I knew I wanted to work in the medical field/healthcare field. Still, I didn’t want to interact with patients directly, so medical laboratory science (MLS) was a happy medium."

Post-graduation plans: Accepted a position as a medical technologist at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ.

How did UD prepare you for your future? "The lectures and labs have done a great job of prepping me for life after UD. The content directly translates to what happens in the real world in medical laboratory settings."

Favorite academic experience: The labs pertaining to my major and my clinical rotations. "I love the hands-on experience; it makes learning, understanding, and applying the concepts and theories from lectures much easier."

Favorite non-academic experience: "Being on the UD Coed Cheerleading Team. I have met my best friends from participating in that program, and I’m so grateful."

What does it mean to you to be a Blue Hen: "It means everything! I’ve learned so much about myself being here at UD and can proudly say I’m a different person coming out than when I first came in. I am so proud to be a Blue Hen because I truly love my school and am so glad I decided to come here. After I graduate, I’m truly going to miss UD." 

Shayna DeRosa, a medical diagnostics major with pre-PA concentration and Honors student, plans to take a gap year and apply to PA school. In the interim, she has accepted a job as a medical assistant with MDCS Dermatology on Long Island.(Photo submitted by Shayna DeRosa.)

shayna derosa   


Medical Diagnostics, Pre-Physician Assistant concentration,

Medical Social Services minor, Honors student


Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: 

Impactful. Preparatory. Fulfilling.

Why Shayna chose UD?: "I chose UD for its beautiful campus and all the amazing experiences and resources both on campus and in the surrounding area." 

Post-graduation plans: "I am applying to PA school and hope to start in the Fall of 2025. During my gap year, I have accepted a job as a medical assistant with MDCS Dermatology on Long Island."

How did UD prepare you for your future? "UD gave me numerous volunteer and research opportunities to aid in my application to PA school. I volunteered and worked at campus COVID-19 testing centers during my freshman and sophomore years. I then volunteered with Lori's Hands and conducted paid research in the Department of Health Behavior and Nutrition Sciences. I also served as a STAR Ambassador.

"The community aspects of UD have also helped me. I have spent the past year working with ATI Physical Therapy in Wilmington, allowing me to connect to the greater Delaware community and gain vital patient care hours.

"Faculty and academics also played a huge role in my success. I have been so lucky to get to know many of my professors on a personal level, which has greatly impacted my academic success."

Favorite academic experience: "The honors discussions I attended for many of my classes really helped me explore my education on a deeper level and helped me to get to know my professors better."

Favorite non-academic experience: Volunteering at Open Houses and Decision Days. "I have loved being a STAR Ambassador, sharing my passion for UD, and helping prospective students and their families make their college decision."

What does it mean to you to be a Blue Hen: "To be a Blue Hen is to join a massive network of students and alumni across the country that support and motivate one another to success. Throughout my time at UD, I've had professors, tutors, co-workers, and patients who were Blue Hens. I've met Blue Hens, from my 64-year-old patient residing in Brandywine Hundred to my sister's neighbors living on Long Island. No matter their story or background, UD has given us a mutual passion and drive to support one another. I would not be where I am today without the support of the Blue Hen physician assistant who allowed me to shadow her at Christiana Hospital, the student tutor provided by the MMSC Department, and countless others. I look forward to joining this network of incredible alumni and doing whatever I can to help future Blue Hens."

After graduation, Menelik Duey, a senior applied molecular biology and biotechnology major, will work as a research specialist in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania.

menelik duey


Applied Molecular Biology and Biotechnology major


Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: 

Dynamic. Nomadic. Kaleidoscopic. 

Why Menelik chose UD?: "Graduating from high school amidst a pandemic sparked my interest in the medical field, but initially, I wasn’t certain about the various avenues beyond becoming a doctor. Discovering the biotechnology degree path offered by the Department of Medical and Molecular Sciences opened my eyes to the opportunity to gain the tangible skills to eventually become one of the trailblazers who develop the next cure for infectious disease or optimize a novel cancer treatment. After realizing that I could combine my interest in following a medically innovative degree with my love for international travel and diverse cultures through the World Scholars Program, I decided UD would be the perfect place to pursue both avenues simultaneously."

Post-graduation plans: "I will be working as a research specialist in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, studying CAR-T cell therapy as a cancer treatment."

How did UD prepare you for your future? "UD has prepared me for my journey as a biomedical researcher by boosting my confidence in facing challenges head-on and enhancing my ability to creatively seek solutions to difficult questions. I believe this skill set will empower me to pursue innovative research areas while fearlessly exploring unconventional ideas. Various opportunities to lead teams have played a pivotal role in refining my leadership capabilities. One-on-one conversations with my genetics professor gave me validation and reinforcement, helping me develop a stronger sense of belief in myself. The knowledge I’ve gained, combined with the mentorship and advice from both scientific and business experts at UD, has cultivated an image of how I hope to shape my career in the future."

Favorite academic experience: "My junior year protein characterization course required us to compile information from a recent research paper and present the findings in a comprehensive yet comprehendible manner. This was a great way to exercise my scientific communication skills while also displaying the knowledge base I had built surrounding biochemistry and molecular profiling. Explaining the complexities of drug epitope mapping intuitively to my classmates confirmed that the hard work during my academic journey enriched not only my understanding of molecular biology jargon but also my ability to effectively convey technical concepts to others."

Favorite non-academic experience: Participating in AirBand 2023. "Over the span of several weeks, my fraternity practiced to perfect our choreography in preparation for a lip-sync dance competition involving the rest of the Greek life community at UD. The opportunity to display our teamwork, camaraderie, and awesome dance moves amid the roar of the Bob Carpenter Center felt like the best way to celebrate our unity and spirit as a brotherhood. Although we came just short of first place, this instance will last as a core memory of my time at UD."

What does it mean to you to be a Blue Hen: "Being a Blue Hen means striving for greatness while also serving as a role model for the community. UD empowers students to push intellectual boundaries and create an impact beyond the confines of the classroom. This is why we consistently see numerous remarkable graduates emerging as thought leaders, idea generators, and trendsetters who simultaneously make positive contributions locally and globally.

"To me, joining the ranks of previous Blue Hen alumni signifies becoming part of a network that values passion, inclusion, and continuous learning throughout life. I have no doubt that the next generation of students will find ways to enable the same curiosity and innovation in their respective disciplines."

Callista Hofeling, a senior medical diagnostics major and Honors student, plans to take a gap year and apply to medical school.

calLista hofeling


Medical Diagnostics major, Honors student


Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: 

Fulfilling. Positive. Exciting.

Why Callista chose UD?: "I chose UD because I heard so many wonderful things about the school from alumni. I also was accepted as a member of UD's Synchronized Skating Team and served as vice president this past season. UD's synchronized skating team is among the best teams on the East Coast, winning the sectional championships 23 times!

"I chose my major because I am a pre-medical student with aspirations of attending medical school and becoming a doctor. I looked at the curriculum for medical diagnostics and found that it was much more medically focused than the standard biology major. I saw the required courses for the major, such as immunohematology and hematology, and knew I was very interested in and wanted to study these topics. My experience in this major has prepared me well for medical school."

Post-graduation plans: "Working as a medical assistant for the chief of orthopedic surgery at Anne Arundel Medical Center in Maryland. During this time, I will also be applying to medical schools."

How did UD prepare you for your future? "The curriculum in the medical diagnostics major prepared me very well for medical school." 

Favorite academic experience: "Receiving awards from the Department of Medical and Molecular Sciences made me feel recognized and appreciated, which is a very nice feeling."

Favorite non-academic experience: "Being a member and vice president of UD's Synchronized Skating Team. I have learned so much about hard work, time management, friendship, leadership, teamwork, and bravery from being on the team. I am so grateful to contribute to the sectional titles we have won and become part of the team's legacy." 

What does it mean to you to be a Blue Hen: "Being a Blue Hen means being innovative and driven, working hard towards your goals, and taking advantage of opportunities while remaining humble and grateful."

Ciara Mbuakoto is taking a gap year and working as a certified phlebotomist before heading to back to school to enter a physician assistant master's program in the Fall of 2025.

Ciara Mbuakoto


Medical Diagnostics major with a Pre-Physician Assistant concentration, Nutrition minor


Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: 

Fulfilling. Insightful. and Remarkable.

Why Ciara chose UD?: "When it came down to deciding what school I thought would be right for me, the University of Delaware quickly became the obvious choice. Not only does the university have so much liveliness and character, but its academic values align perfectly with mine. One aspect that drew me to UD is the wide variety of majors within the College of Health Sciences (CHS). I knew I wanted to work in healthcare, but I wasn’t sure of the occupation. I knew whatever career I decided, there would be a place for me within CHS. Between UD's top-notch academic programs, various extracurriculars, and everything in between, I knew I was destined to be a Blue Hen."

Post-graduation plans: "As a newly certified phlebotomist, I hope to secure a job in a hospital or healthcare setting to work during my gap year before heading to Physician Assistant (PA) School in the fall of 2025. While working, I also plan to make travel a priority to travel and spend time with friends and family."

How did UD prepare you for your future? "Although my four years at UD are coming to a close, they have helped shape me into the best version of myself and become ready to conquer the next phase of my life. Through the various highs and lows, my experiences at UD have shown me that I am truly capable of anything I want to do."

Favorite academic experience: The core classes I took for my major. "Although these classes were anything but easy, they truly challenged me on a whole other level. On top of that, the material taught in the course directly aligns with my desire to be a PA. Getting to take these courses also brought me an amazing group of friends; not only did we study together, but we also leaned on each other when things got hard and just constantly believed in each other."

Favorite non-academic experience: "My favorite non-academic experience has, hands down, been my involvement with UDance, the largest student-run organization on campus, a year-long effort to raise funds and awareness for the fight against childhood cancer. Our sole beneficiary is the B+ Foundation, which is the largest provider of financial assistance to families of kids with cancer in the U.S. During my junior year, I served as the UDance Representative for Gamma Sigma Sigma, and I am currently the Canning Director on the UDance Executive Board. Through my involvement in this community, I have made lifelong friends and played a part in changing the lives of so many families and kids. Working alongside students who all share the same passion and drive to help make a difference has been so special to me, and I will continue to support this community even after I graduate." 

What does it mean to you to be a Blue Hen: "Being a Blue Hen is something so special to me and carries a lot of significance. Coming to UD, I wasn’t sure where my place would be on campus. Fast forward four years and I could not be more honored to be a Blue Hen. This school and everyone I have met along my journey has played an important role in helping me become the best version of myself. Being a Blue Hen surrounded by so many amazing fellow Blue Hens has been nothing short of a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Once a Blue Hen, always a Blue Hen."

Amanda McFall, a senior medical diagnostics major with a pre-physician assistant concentration, is heading to Arcadia University's PA Program after graduation. (Photo submitted by Amanda McFall.)

amanda mcfall 


Medical Diagnostics major with a Pre-Physician Assistant concentration 


Three words to describe the UD CHS experience: 

Motivating. Transformative. Rewarding.

Why Amanda chose UD?: "I chose UD because of my love for the state I grew up in and because it is one of the only universities that offers a pre-PA education as part of a major. I chose my major because it would equip me with all the necessary knowledge and skills to enter PA school. The Department of Medical and Molecular Sciences courses are unique compared to other undergraduate programs, and they have truly prepared pre-medical students for graduate-level courses."

Post-graduation plans: Attending Arcadia University’s Physician Assistant Program. 

How did UD prepare you for your future? "The courses taken in the medical diagnostics major are not offered in many other undergraduate programs. The intensity and depth of the courses have also helped me prepare for graduate school."

Favorite academic experience: "I absolutely love hearing about the personal experiences of the professors in the MMSC Department. So many have decades of professional medical experience, and we have all learned so much from them."

Favorite non-academic experience: "Walking around campus during early Fall and Spring. We are so lucky to have such a beautiful and historic campus."

What does it mean to you to be a Blue Hen: "Being a Blue Hen means to be part of a community that uplifts each other and sticks together. Every Blue Hen wears their blue and gold with pride, whether that be current students or alumni."

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