By Libby Rose ‘19
Let’s start from the beginning. During my college application process, I knew I wanted a small liberal arts college in southern California. The Claremont Colleges were an obvious option. Everything I had researched about Pomona during my junior year of high school seemed fantastic. But it was during the summer before my senior year that Pomona really began to stand out to me. A professor in the Biology Department was a family friend, so I emailed him, wondering if I could take a look inside the science labs. I was interested in neuroscience, and I knew I would be spending a lot of time in the labs. His email response impacted my college decision more than he knows! He responded with a list of neuroscience professors who would be willing to let me observe their labs over the summer for a week. He even offered to find a place for me to stay in the dorms on campus! I was blown away by the generosity and warm welcome to a student who hadn’t even applied yet.
Sure enough, I visited Dr. Karen Parfitt’s lab and met many current neuroscience students. I learned all about her research on Alzheimer’s disease and had so much fun learning about the types of techniques they used on slices of mice hippocampus. Fast forward four years, and I have conducted summer research in preparation for my senior thesis project with the same professor who took me under her wing. I think the initial opportunity to peek inside Professor Parfitt’s lab really made Pomona into a reality for me. I could picture myself on campus doing research and loving it. The entire lab was so welcoming that I knew it was the right place for me.
After that summer, during my senior year of high school, I toured the school and spent the night with a first-year host. This experience confirmed my decision that I wanted Pomona to be my home for the next four years. I “prospied” with Chloe An ’18, who I think was the most involved first-year student on campus. She was amazing, always jumping from meetings, to mentor sessions, to meals with friends. She was so busy and involved in a lot of the same activities that I was in high school—it was the perfect match. But she still made time for me. She even took me to the dance studio where I took a ballet and modern dance class. I felt welcomed into her sponsor group (a group of first-year students who live near each other and have assigned mentors) and a part of the whole residence hall. I’m so glad Pomona has an overnight hosting program like this, so prospective students can really see what it is like to live on campus. It definitely convinced me that Pomona was a perfect fit for me. And I highly recommend taking advantage of this stellar opportunity to see if it is a fit for you.