Catch up with Gabby DeBartolomeo '14, who recently graduated from Boston College with a double major in biology and economics.
Name: Gabby DeBartolomeo
Year Graduated Westover: 2014
College/University attended: Boston College
College/University Graduation: 2018, B.S. in Biology, B.A. in Economics (double major)
1. Going from Westover to college that first year, how did Westover prepare you to head into a brand new environment, socially/academics, etc.?
Westover prepared me incredibly well for the rigor of BC's academics. I noticed pretty quickly that I was better prepared than many of my classmates, particularly in my science classes and labs. While many people were overwhelmed by the number of hours required to do well, I was used to working hard and spending time in the library. Socially, Westover had fostered a degree of self-confidence within myself that allowed me to become involved in various extracurriculars and make friends easily. My transition to college was relatively seamless, and I believe my experience at Westover had a lot to do with that.
2. How did Westover give you the confidence to find yourself or find success in college?
Westover gave me so many tools that helped me find success in college. My teachers at Westover worked tirelessly to help me succeed, and they made sure that when I graduated I knew how to do well in school. When I got to college, I knew how to study, and how to ask professors for help when I needed it. I was able to make the most of my college education because of the foundation that Westover gave me to do so.
3. What is something you discovered about yourself during your four years? Meaning a new passion, deciding on a major, etc.?
I realized how passionate I am about working with children through my involvement with several campus organizations, including Big Sisters and BC's neighborhood tutoring program. As a Jesuit university, BC encourages students to give their time serving others. With dozens of programs to choose from, it was difficult at first to figure out where I could have the biggest impact. I started with one club, the Heights Boys and Girls Club, and fell in love with the kids we worked with. I then signed up to tutor through the Neighborhood Center, and then became a big sister. Later on, I took on leadership roles for these organizations. My experience with these programs led me to consider pediatric medicine as my career goal.
4. Life after college: Since graduating, what are you up to? Pursuing graduate school/jumping into the workforce?
I started at Alkeus Pharmaceuticals in Boston shortly after graduation as a Clinical Trial Scientist, where I manage clinical trials to treat causes of blindness. I intend to work in clinical research for the next two years while I apply to medical school, where I will hopefully matriculate in the Fall of 2020.
5. How did you decide on what to do after graduating? What was that thought-process like for you?
In the middle of my Senior year, I really wasn't sure if I wanted to pursue job opportunities in the business field or the healthcare field. When I got my MCAT score back in January, I immediately decided to pursue healthcare with the ultimate goal of going to medical school. At that point I began applying and interviewing for research positions, mostly in hospitals and university-affiliated labs. When I came across the job posting at Alkeus, I knew I had found a position I could excel at. One of the company's research focuses is Stargardt disease, which is a rare disease that affects children and young people. So my work at Alkeus allows me to have a real impact on young patients' lives while also learning more about the medical field and healthcare research.
6. For you, how valuable are the Westover connections?
The relationships I formed at Westover are still some of the most important in my life. I think that the people who watched you grow up in high school know you better than most and want you to succeed in the most genuine sense. I am so thankful to have met people at Westover who still have such a strong impact on my life four years after graduation.
7. For the upcoming Class of 2019, what advice would you give them as they prepare to start their senior year, college applications, and thinking about life after Westover?
- Spend as much time as possible with your friends during your senior year. It will go by so quickly, and even though you're excited to start the next phase of your life, take time to appreciate the people at Westover every day. You will miss them more than you know!
- Don't let the college process stress you out. Everything happens for a reason, and you will excel wherever you end up. Westover gave you too good a foundation for any other outcome.
- After you graduate from Westover, put in the effort to maintain your friendships. College is busy and hard, but make time anyway. You will make many new friends in college, but there is nothing quite like the relationships you have with your Westover sisters.