GMercyU 2016 Commencement Speaker Sean Welch

Meet Sean Welch

Biology, 2016


"We actually progress as we move through the program because we’re critiqued to such an extent early on that you have to be able to adapt to that change and it makes you a better person. It makes you a better student." 

I have always been interested in science. Growing up I loved astronomy and geology then as I got a bit older I got really interested in biology, chemistry and the processes that make us living and different. That’s why I chose to study biology and minor in chemistry and microbiology. 

My path to Gwynedd Mercy University was a little more convoluted. I really didn’t know where I wanted to go or where I was going to end up. I applied to a whole bunch of colleges and got accepted to pretty much everywhere and got scholarships to a whole bunch of places but when I came to GMercyU there was just something different about the people who interviewed me and the environment.
 
During my time at GMercyU, I had a lot of hands-on research which led me into my thesis which was based on Alzheimer’s disease. I had always been interested in mental health so I looked into diseases that involved mental health disorders but also diseases that aren’t that well understood. I wanted to have my own take on it instead of rewriting something that was already out there. 
 
I started looking at current research and where it was going. A lot of it was involving the immune system in the brain. There are cells in the brain called microglia. There are so many things that can go wrong with their function and there are some ties between irregular activity of microglia and the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. I looked more deeply into that and over time found really concrete links binding the two together. I also found that after working through my thesis, there’s a lot more research being published about this and a lot of it is right in line with what I was thinking a year ago. It’s really interesting to see that come to fruition and to see this weird, little idea I had as a junior turn into something real. 
 
The faculty is really dedicated to helping students learn. They give all of their free time for any student who wants it and their doors are always open. I really love that small-school experience and it’s part of the reason why I came to GMercyU. There are so many people here who have transferred from bigger schools because they went to a large inner-city school thinking it would be an awesome experience but  they start panicking because they don’t know their professors or they don’t know how to get ahead because they’re just one random person in a sea of people. 

Here, I was in a class with nine people. Some people might not like but at the same time we get such individualized attention. We actually progress as we move through the program because we’re critiqued to such an extent early on that you have to be able to adapt to that change and it makes you a better person. It makes you a better student. I feel a lot of larger institutions miss out on because you just go through the motions and you don’t actually improve. At GMercyU, you are constantly improving every single day. 

Sean Welch was the student speaker at Gwynedd Mercy University's 2016 Commencement Ceremony. Watch Sean's inspiring speech below.