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Current Position: Disease Intervention Specialist at Montgomery County Department of Public Health
Casey Gonzaga ‘18 was surrounded by science growing up, with both of her parents working in pharmaceuticals. And, Casey's mother and sister both attended GMercyU, but more than that led her to becoming a Griffin.
“From the first time I stepped onto campus, I knew I was in the right spot,” recalled Casey. “I was no longer just a number and was treated with respect. I really enjoyed the smaller campus feel. I also loved how welcoming and helpful everyone was.” GMercyU also happened to be just far enough from home for Casey to experience living on campus.
On campus, Casey was an active member of the community. She ran for GMercyU’s NCAA Division III Track & Field and Cross Country teams. She also served as secretary for the Student Association of Science (SAS) and a member of the E-STEM program. One of Casey’s fondest memories during her time on campus was staying up all night at Maguire Hall with her friends, cramming for exams and finishing projects together.
At GMercyU, Casey discovered her passion for biology at GMercyU and met someone life-changing.
“I am incredibly lucky to have gone to GMercyU because I met my now-husband there during my freshman year. We both ran cross country and track & field,” said Casey. “We just bought a home in January 2020 in Lehigh County and welcomed our first baby, a boy named Keegan, into the world on Halloween 2020.”
After graduating from GMercyU, Casey was accepted into Drexel University’s School of Public Health, where she completed her MS of Public Health in Environmental and Occupational Health* with a minor in Infectious Disease. She then landed her current job as a Disease Intervention Specialist at the Montgomery County Department of Public Health.
Here's more about Casey's experiences, in her own words...
I had always dreamed of becoming a doctor or working in the medical field. I grew up with parents who were both working at pharmaceutical companies, and I was always around science. Watching and talking to my parents about their careers made my interest in biology skyrocket. North Penn High School gave me so many opportunities, and I realized that biology and anatomy were my favorite classes. I was never a top student but worked really hard to pass the classes I loved most.
GMercyU is honestly where I realized how much I could do with a biology degree. I ended up falling in love with all things infectious diseases, and so Dr. Lettini became a very helpful mentor during my time at Gwynedd and even now that I am graduated.
I attempted the rigorous Biology program once and did not do as well as I had hoped, leaving me with two options: one, pick a different major and just leave the science world behind or two, pick myself back up and try again — but this time with a purpose. Not a single professor made me feel ashamed for wanting to try again and every single one of the biology professors were there cheering me on from the sidelines and stepping in to lend a helping hand when necessary.
Every biology professor had an “open door” policy which meant you could go in and talk/ask questions at any point, which was one resource I did not let go to waste. Dr. McEliece became accustomed to me waiting outside of her door when she finished a class for the thousands of questions I had about an assignment and a little Game of Thrones talk, too.
"The Biology program at GMercyU is by far one of the most rigorous biology programs in the area, in my honest opinion. I went through my master’s program with ease, while watching friends who graduated with a similar degree from a different university struggle through the program."
For anyone interested in biology, I would recommend scheduling a time to meet with any of the GMercyU Biology staff/faculty and just listen to their stories and reasons why they love what they do. The moment I realized that my professors were in a position that allowed them to teach what they love made my decision easy. It never felt like work for them to teach us and made the lectures so much more interesting because you could feel their passion.
GMercyU offers smaller class sizes which allowed for individualized care and the ability to ask as many questions as necessary.
The Biology program at GMercyU is by far one of the most rigorous biology programs in the area, in my honest opinion. I went through my master’s program with ease, while watching friends who graduated with a similar degree from a different university struggle through the program. It wasn’t until I was surrounded by others that I realized just how great of an education I had received from GMercyU.
*GMercyU is launching a Master of Public Health degree in Fall 2021.