Interdisciplinary offerings helps alumna pursue future in science

Erika Danella stands in a field working with a screen and trowel searching through dirt.

Discovering a buried passion

Through diverse academic opportunities at Quinnipiac, Erika Danella '18 was able to explore a variety of career options to find her interest in dentistry and scientific research.

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rika Danella `18 arrived at Quinnipiac intent on studying health sciences and pursuing medical school in the future. Then, a single biology course opened up a new world of possibilities she had never considered, including Quinnipiac’s pre-dental concentration.

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“So many opportunities were offered to me, and I was able to do a great amount of career exploration,” said Danella, whose goal is to work as both a dentist and researcher.

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Erika Danella sits at a table looking at a box of scientific specimens in plastic bags.

Exploring her options

Erika was able to take classes in biology, chemistry and anthropology that sparked interest in scientific research.

Adding dual minors in anthropology and chemistry gave Danella the chance to apply her research skills abroad. In addition to trips to the United Arab Emirates, Italy and London, Danella spent six weeks on an archaeological dig site in Hungary as part of the Bronze Age Körös Off-Tell Archaeology (BAKOTA) project.

The research Danella compiled there will be presented at a national archaeology conference in 2019 and published in a peer-reviewed journal.

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“Erika is a true global scholar,” said Julie Giblin, associate professor of anthropology.

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Erika Danella stands at a anthropological dig site next to another woman look through a bucket of dirt.

Getting out in the field

Erika took advantage of an opportunity open to Quinnipiac students to do anthropological field work at a dig site in Hungary.

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Danella’s background and field experience gave her the confidence she needed to apply to dental school. She received full scholarships to some of the most competitive joint DDS/PhD programs in the country, and has chosen to attend the prestigious University of Michigan School of Dentistry.

“I want to be a clinician scientist in academic medicine,” Danella explained. “My goal is to have my own research lab and teach as a professor.”