Commencement 2023: new grads tell their stories

Bob Handelman

Bob Handelman

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Amrita Vetticaden
San Diego, CA
Jonathan Edwards College
BS in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology

What drew you to Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology as a major?
It started out as this thing that I was doing in service of my future goal to be a doctor, but as I took classes it became the way that I appreciated the world.

Were there any particular moments, classes, or people who really cemented that for you?
One of the classes I took that I really enjoyed is called the Molecular Hallmarks of Cancer, taught by Professor Nadia Dimitrova. That's in the MCDB department, and she actually became my mentor for my senior thesis. Learning about cancer brought together for me a lot of the ways that life doesn't just exist, but defies us and resists us in a lot of ways that we don't understand.

Did that end up influencing your thesis?
Yeah—my thesis about the role of extrachromosomal DNA in contributing to different cancer phenotypes. That was something that really struck a chord with me, and it's definitely an area of research that I'm hoping to explore.

What other sorts of things did you do outside of class?
Last semester, I choreographed for Danceworks, and the semester before that, I was acting in a play. Last year, I was also leading Community Health Educators, which has been a really important service organization. We basically give a health education curriculum to New Haven public, middle, and high schools. That's been really close to my heart. I also did the Global Health Program.