RCBC 3+1 alumna joins Ivy League research team
Thursday, May 21, 2020

Emily Devereaux

Growing up, Emily Devereaux never considered a career in science. She subscribed to the widely-held belief that some are naturally skilled in arts and language, while others have a knack for math and science. And, because she excelled in writing and art, she considered herself among the former group.  

When she transitioned to Rowan College at Burlington County, however, her perspective changed. She gained a renewed interest in the sciences, which she largely attributes to her RCBC professors. They challenged her, were committed to her success and presented topics in an engaging manner.  

“Most of my memorable experiences at RCBC have to do with the relationships I developed with my professors, including but not limited to Dan Dellmyer (physics), Terrence Sherlock (chemistry/organic chemistry), Dr. Katharine Milani (microbiology and Bio III) and Anne Tokazewski (ecology),” Devereaux recalled. “These professors stood out to me not just because of their knowledge, but because of their willingness to treat me with respect, as an equal; to answer my questions and emails promptly and fully; as well as to be kind, understanding and open.” 

Devereaux opted in to the 3+1 pathway in Biology and graduated magna cum laude with her bachelor’s degree in December. She recently accepted a position as a Research Assistant in a developmental biology lab at the University of Pennsylvania's Perelman School of Medicine, a top 3 medical research school in the nation. When she begins in June, she will study the development of the nervous system using zebrafish as a model organism.  

“The lab studies guidance cues that ‘tell’ developing axons in the olfactory system where to grow. In my first year there as the Research Assistant, I will be mating the zebrafish and genotyping them (which involves taking DNA samples of all the fish, replicating their DNA and then running gel electrophoresis on the samples, to determine genotype) and assisting the work done by the Ph.Ds,” Emily said.  

In her second year, however, she looks forward to conducting her own research projects with her own lines of fish. The principal investigator, Dr. Jonathan Raper, told her the goal was to get her name on a paper published by the lab, as a contributor.  

“They place a strong emphasis on teaching, so I will be learning confocal microscopy, immunohistochemistry and lots of other techniques that will be completely new to me,” Devereaux shared.  

Devereaux hopes to eventually earn her doctorate in Biology but until then, she looks forward to absorbing as much knowledge as she can at Penn.  

“I feel lucky to have gotten a job in a developmental biology lab because it was my absolute favorite subject. I took it in my final semester with Dr. Kelley Bethoney at Rowan University's main campus in Glassboro. I definitely hope to continue doing developmental bio-related research in my career,” Devereaux shared. 

Emily’s story is an installment of Behind the Baron, a series that shares real stories from real RCBC students and alumni. Anyone interested in being featured can contact rcbcnews@rcbc.edu. To follow along on social media, use #BehindtheBaron.