Cynthia holds undergraduate degrees in Chemistry and Psychology as well as a PhD in Neuroscience. Her research focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms of bone metastasis in the pediatric cancer neuroblastoma and the preclinical testing of chemotherapeutics for late stage disease. Her career has focused on student success, including serving as the pre-health advisor, director of an NIH-funded training program, and faculty advisor to the Biology club and the MAPS student organization chapters, in addition to teaching a variety of courses in Biological Sciences. Always learning, she holds excellence in teaching certifications from ACUE and Quality Matters, certification in Instructional Design, and designation as a Microsoft Innovative Educator. She also acts as a Khan Academy ambassador and a Microsoft Innovative Educator Trainer. Her current research focuses on novel adaptations of high-impact practices in education and course enhancements to promote student engagement. Her recent speaking engagements have focused on the relationship between faculty burnout and student engagement, the use of technology to improve student readiness for the workforce, and creating a culture of care in education.
She serves as a research mentor for Ivy Scholars. She uses her decades-long experience leading students in research to develop her mentee’s interests into testable and executable projects. Students that have worked with her have developed and performed research in highly diverse topics and have presented work at national conferences, including the American Association for Cancer Research, the Society for Neuroscience, Experimental Biology., and the Education Summit. Having served as a prehealth advisor, she is especially suited for mentorship of students interested in medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, and biomedical research careers, helping students develop the skills during high school that they will need to maximize their time during their undergraduate career.
Advising, mentorship, and teaching are her absolute favorite parts of her career. One of her favorite quotes is “To be a leader means to positively impact other people’s capacity to thrive.”- Nataly Kogan. This quote has been and continues to be the cornerstone of her career. Her role in education is to do everything in her power to increase her students’ and fellow educators’ capacity to thrive, and she does so with nonjudgmental care and purpose. She has often been called the mom of her department. Her own four adult children are equally successful, and she values that title of mom above all others. She has had excellent mentors in her life, from the mom in the neighborhood that taught her Algebra in 2nd grade and fostered her love of math, to the research mentors that helped her navigate undergraduate and graduate education as a first generation college student. She chooses to honor them by providing that same level of commitment and care to each student she mentors.
Fun Fact: I am an avid runner. I have run marathons, half marathons, and race 5K’s nearly every weekend from April to November. I’m preparing for my first Spartan race this September!
“It’s not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” – Charles Darwin