When Francine Yanchik ’18 arrived on the Le Moyne campus in the fall of 2014, she was torn between studying biology and chemistry. Then Yanchik came upon the field of biochemistry. She knew she’d found the perfect way to better understand the interplay between the two disciplines that captured her imagination. By the end of her sophomore year, she was in the lab, putting what she’d learned in her classes to develop various analogs of curcumin, a compound found naturally in turmeric.
Today Yanchik is pursuing a doctorate in chemistry at the University of Rochester, where her research is focused on organic chemistry. The Syracuse native credits the science and core courses she took at Le Moyne with preparing her for graduate school. They developed her capacity to think critically when working through a complex research project – and to effectively communicate her findings to others.
“I will be faced with many more challenges moving forward, but I am confident in my abilities to tackle them thanks to the foundation I received at Le Moyne,” she says.
During her time on the Heights, Yanchik served as a workshop leader under Associate Professor Chemistry Joseph Mullins, Ph.D., and as a mentor to high school students in the Science Technology Entry Program (STEP). The workshops provided Yanchik and her classmates with an environment in which they could learn from one another as they worked through course material, while STEP helped younger students identify their academic strengths and weaknesses.
Both of those experiences will play a critical role in Yanchik’s professional future.
“I would like to teach chemistry at the collegiate level at an institution like Le Moyne, if not there,” she says. “I loved the environment created through the small class sizes and the values that serve as the foundation of a Jesuit education.”