Vicky Mason, '11

Hometown: Currently Holliston, Mass. But my father was in the Army, so I’ve lived in South Korea, North Carolina, and Alabama.
Year of Graduation: 2011

Why did I choose WPI? 
Before my freshman year, WPI invested $10 million into Gateway Park, and this showed me that the university was greatly interested in developing the life sciences program. I was also attracted to how research oriented the school was and how this is reflected in WPI’s motto, Lehr und Kunst (Theory and Practice). I was looking forward to having the opportunity to apply what I learned in a classroom setting and translate it into a lab environment with real-life applications.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to me during my time at WPI?
I have learned from my own project experiences how to be a leader and group member, which are invaluable skills that will be beneficial in the medical field.

How have WPI's Biology and Biotechnology professors helped in my studies?
I’m greatly indebted to Professor Reeta Prusty Rao for her continued guidance and support during my time at WPI. She has been an incredible mentor, advisor, and friend.

I first met her as a freshman when I took her Medical Microbiology course, and sought extra help often since it was a challenging class. I remember trying to apply for internships and lab positions during this time, but was unsuccessful, since I was just a first-year student. From a cost-benefit perspective, it was understandable why companies normally do not choose freshmen, but all I wanted was chance to prove myself. Luckily, Reeta asked me on the day of the final how the job search was going and invited me to work in her lab if I did not have any options. I am very thankful that I have been able to work in her lab every summer since then—on amazing research projects. I’ve studied biofuels as well as used yeast as a model organism to learn more about the detrimental effects of an effective schizophrenic medication. Not only has she provided me with academic support, but she's been an encouraging source of motivation while I have been here.

What do I hope to do when I graduate? What would be my ideal job?
I intend on taking a year off, preparing to apply to medical school. I would ideally like to pursue other passions, such as baking and traveling to Third World countries doing medically related missions work.

Groups or extracurricular activities I participate in at WPI:

  • Christian Bible Fellowship; served on the Leadership Team, D-Term to present
  • Resident Advisor; sophomore year to present
  • Mu Sigma Delta, Pre-Health Society; vice president, C-Term 2010 to C-Term 2011
  • Alpha Phi Omega, service fraternity; from C-Term 2008 to D-Term 2010
  • Women’s Lacrosse, spring 2008 to spring 2010

Academic or professional awards I have received:

  • Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, 2009 and 2010
  • Northeastern Undergraduate Research and Development Symposium (partner Carrie Ellsworth and I won one of the top 10 poster presentations), March 5-6, 2011
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