May 15, 2013
Recent graduate Mitch Pender spent the end of his last Albion semester making a tough decision—which of six graduate school offers to accept. Pender's choice is Cornell University, where he'll enroll as a doctoral student in the biomedical engineering program. The graduate research fellowship will cover tuition and living costs for the five-year program, and is valued at more than $300,000.
"I was worried at first that I would struggle to find a Ph.D. program that was different from my undergraduate degree," said Pender, "but the quality of my undergraduate education and experiences paid off."
Cornell has one of the top biomedical engineering programs in the country, and will allow Pender to pursue doctoral minors in electrical/computer engineering and neuroscience. Pender will join a research group pioneering the use femtosecond laser spectroscopy into the manipulation of biological systems and the study of neurodegenerative disease.
The five graduate programs Pender turned down were in of chemistry, chemical engineering and materials engineering. A chemistry major at Albion, He credits his experiences in chemistry professor Vanessa McCaffrey's lab as a big attraction to so many institutions. "I was able to do graduate-level research as an undergrad, write my own research grant proposals, present my research at national conferences, and pursue independent studies in coursework that I found to be interesting," he said. "Albion opened many doors to develop my professional network with many successful alumni and Albion affiliates."
Pender graduated magna cum laude from Albion College, with acceptance into Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi, a national science research-based honorary. At Albion, he also received the David W. Green Scholarship in Analytical Chemistry and Randall Award for Top Senior Chemistry Major, and was also awarded an American Chemical Society National Undergraduate Award in Analytical Chemistry.