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Senior Spotlight: Holy Cross Provides Small Campus with Big Reputation, says Valedictorian Nick Cormier

May 18th, 2015 by 

NAME Nicholas Cormier

HOMETOWN Feeding Hills, Mass.

STUDIES Biology and sociology major, premedical concentration

FENWICK SCHOLAR Cormier had an unconventional senior year. As the Fenwick Scholar, he spent the 2014-15 academic year conducting independent, interdisciplinary research which explored transplant medicine from both a sociological and biological perspective.

“The sociological portion of my research was a qualitative study examining the divergent ways in which doctors and patients in the transplantation field understand and manage risk,” he says “while the biological portion developed an assay for measuring cell migration and tested the effect of several treatments on stem cell migration”

This research, Cormier explains, is important for developing stem cell based therapies that may one day replace transplantation altogether.

Over the course of the year, Cormier’s research work ranged from interviewing doctors and patients at local hospitals to working in the regenerative biology lab on campus. His research was supported by a team of faculty advisors, including Renee Beard, associate professor of sociology; Selina Gallo-Cruz, assistant professor of sociology; and Julia Paxson, assistant professor of biology.

The Fenwick Scholar Award — one of the College’s oldest and most prestigious awards, named in honor of the late Bishop Benedict J. Fenwick, S.J., founder of Holy Cross— allowed Cormier to employ the modes of critical thinking learned at Holy Cross in order to approach the field of transplant medicine from both a macro and micro perspective.

“This project has given me the chance to take my two majors — biology and sociology — to the next level. It is one thing to learn what others have done before me, but it is quite another to explore new fields and learn about something that builds on what is currently happening in the field, and to be able to contribute something new.”

BEYOND THE CLASSROOM Admissions tour guide, lead intern for Student Programs for Urban Development (SPUD), music minister.

SCHOLARSHIP RECIPIENT Cormier is also a recipient of the prestigious Sheehan Scholarship, which covers the full four-year tuition at Holy Cross.

UP NEXT Working at Baystate Medical Center, applying to medical school.

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