When Colin Crilly ’15 enrolled at Vassar three years ago, he planned to major in biology and later pursue a career as a research scientist. But before he finished his freshman year, Crilly had expanded his vision of his future, and an internship this summer funded by the family of an alumnus will propel him closer to his new goals.
Crilly, a junior from Ventura, CA, says he chose Vassar in part because of the diversity and flexibility of the curriculum. He says his decision paid off almost immediately when he took a freshman course in comparative politics. “That course sparked something in me,” Crilly says. “It inspired me to explore political issues in the world -- I decided I wanted to do more than work at a bench in a research lab.”
Crilly decided to double major in biology and political science, and his dual interests in health and politics prompted him to join Vassar ProHealth, a campus organization that raises awareness about health-related issues. This spring, he is involved in two ProHealth initiatives: providing HIV screenings on campus and raising money to fund secondary education programs for children with HIV in a village in Africa.
Crilly is one of 21 recipients of a fellowship through the Tananbaum Family Leadership Program for Work and Development, initiated by Steven Tananbaum ’87. His fellowship will enable him to work this summer with researchers in the field of cardiology at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and to do volunteer work at nearby Texas Children’s Hospital. Last summer he interned at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, studying the molecular structure of the throats of asthma patients.
Crilly plans to combine his interest in medicine and scientific research by pursuing an eight-year M.D./Ph.D degree after he graduates from Vassar next spring. Both Baylor and UC San Francisco have such programs, and Crilly says he believes his internships will give him “a leg up toward acceptance” when he applies to the two schools.
The Tananbaum fellowship not only funds Crilly’s summer internship but also provides him with a career coach at Vassar’s Career Development Office. He says he’ll continue to use those services as he solidifies his post-Vassar plans. “Being named a Tananbaum fellow put me in touch with my counselor, Susan Smith, and other people there who provided me with information that has been really helpful,” he says. “They’ve really elevated my comfort level.”
Photo by Imrul Islam ‘17