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"My favorite part about GMercyU has been the lifelong friendships that I have made with my classmates, teammates, coaches, and professors. I am so grateful and fortunate for all the bonds that I have created and am glad I was more than just a number. It is what makes GMercyU so special."
Seydel Acuna graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, Pa. in 2018. She first heard about GMercyU when Head Coach Shannon Algeo contacted her to join the Women's Lacrosse Team.
Seydel ultimated chose to attend GMercyU because of "the lacrosse team, the beautiful campus, and the small class sizes." Seydel was also awarded the Mother Mary Bernard Scholarship.
Throughout 2021-2022, Seydel assisted Dr. Robert Clewis, Professor of Philosophy, on the editing of one of his books. Within the Biology program, Seydel served as the social media coordinator, where she assisted in the recruitment efforts and managed posts on Instagram and Facebook.
She was also part of the Mercy Monarch Milkweed service project on campus. The project is aligned with the Sisters of Mercy initiative to foster support for the establishment of butterfly gardens in attempt to save monarch butterflies. Seydel was engaged in fundraising efforts and developing infographics. She was one of three seniors leading the efforts in 2021-2022 and played a fundamental role in the project.
Her involvement on campus does not stop there. She was a member of the Women's Lacrosse Team all four years on campus and served as the team's Captain starting her sophomore year.
At the 2022 Honors Convocation ceremony, Seydel received the Alumni Association Award for Oustanding Undergraduate Student.
"It has been a great experience. Although the program can be very challenging, I have loved every bit of it and would not have wanted it any other way," Seydel said.
She expressed that she will forever be grateful for everyone in the program.
"Dr. McEliece, Dr. Lettini, Dr. Barbieri, Dr. Winters, and Dr. McClain have all been incredibly helpful and supportive throughout my four years at GMercyU. They have also always challenged me and pushed me to be the best version of myself. I consider them all my best friends," Seydel said.
In addition to earning her Bachelor of Science in Biology, Seydel also obtained a minor in Psychology.
"Psychology was a nice change of scenery. It allowed me to have different professors as well as meet new people. I really enjoyed developmental psychology, biopsychology, and child psychology," Seydel said.
Seydel secured her spot on the Dean's List throughout her four years and was a member of the Honors Program.
In Summer 2021, under the supervision of Dr. Stacey Lettini, Seydel completed research focused on the formation of biofilms within the various species of freshwater fish, and the factors that impact them. She presented her research at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. At the conference, she was honored with a presentation award and served as GMercyU's first undergraduate to attend.
Seydel also presented her research at the annual SEPCHE Honors Conference and GMercyU's annual research conference in 2022.
After graduating in May 2022, Seydel hopes to obtain patient hours as an EMT or clinic technician. In the long-term, she wants to become an emergency room physician's assistant (PA). She is currently looking at PA programs.
"I would like to point out that all my success at GMercyU would not have been possible without the incredible support system I had from my professors, classmates, teammates, and coaches," Seydel said.
In November 2021, Seydel was awarded for her presentation at the ABRCMS.