Not many undergrads can say they have done research with their college president, but Sarah Hosler ’20 can. And the opportunity came about solely because she was not afraid to ask.
As a biology major, Hosler was interested in the Albright Creative Research Experience (ACRE) since first learning about the program, which provides opportunities for students to conduct one-on-one research or pursue creative activities with a faculty mentor. The big question for the Andover, N.J., native was who among the faculty she should approach to work with her.
The answer came during Welcome Week 2018 when she heard President Jacquelyn S. Fetrow ’82, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, talk about her own undergraduate research experience at Albright.
“It made me wonder if I could do an ACRE with her,” Hosler said. “After her speech, I went to her and just asked her if she wanted to do an ACRE with me. She said yes, and the rest is history.”
That history included both interim- and summer-session research on protein classification in 2019. In July, Hosler presented her initial results at the Protein Society Annual Symposium in Seattle, Wash., where she had opportunities to network with graduate students and their professors in preparation for her own grad school plans.
She followed up in the fall with an independent study under President Fetrow’s guidance, which has allowed her to continue her research and start writing her honors thesis based on it. “I could not have asked for a better research experience,” said Hosler, who hopes to earn a doctorate in veterinary medicine and work in animal research.
“This experience has helped me understand the hard work and dedication that goes into research.”
Mentoring future scientists
Hosler now shares that understanding with high school students through an internship she began in January 2019 at the Science Research Institute at Conrad Weiser High School in nearby Robesonia, Pa. Funded by grants from the Berks County Community Foundation, the Albright-SRI Internship Program is designed to provide young researchers with college-age mentors.
The partnership is paying dividends to both Albright interns and SRI students, according to director Adelle L. Schade. “The mentoring program is beneficial for the SRI students who receive help from competent, caring Albright students. The Albright students benefit through refining their understanding and application of cutting-edge research processes.”
Hosler said the internship helps her enhance her laboratory, research and teaching skills, just as her campus involvement — including work as a Peer Orientation Person (POP) and leadership roles in Alpha Delta Pi, Tri-Beta and Alpha Epsilon Delta — hones her time management, problem-solving and interpersonal skills, which will also aid her in her career.
Overall, Hosler said, she is happy she chose Albright for her undergraduate education and is thankful for the donor-supported scholarships that made it possible. “Without the financial aid, I would not be able to attend Albright, or even college in general, and the experiences I have gotten from college are irreplaceable.”