16 March 2023 • STEM Boucher ’22 Pursues Ph.D. at Penn State

Colleen Boucher ’22 is part of an impressive cohort of HWS grads landing opportunities in STEM fields. 

Colleen Boucher ’22 is pursuing a Ph.D. in neuroscience at Penn State University. Intent on becoming a professor, Boucher says she entered the program ahead of the curve, having gained research and teaching experience at HWS.

“My time at HWS really helped shape my goals for the future and helped bring them to fruition,” Boucher says.

A biochemistry and mathematics double major at the Colleges, Boucher conducted Honors research titled "Beyond Place Cells: Using Algebraic Geometry to Determine Underlying Structure of Receptive Fields Associated with Sensory Neurons." Under the direction of Associate Professor of Mathematics and Computer Joseph Rusinko, she presented the work to the Honors committee, at the Senior Symposium, and at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Conference in Philadelphia, Pa. in April 2022.  

At HWS, Boucher was a Lead Teaching Fellow, Mathematics Teaching Fellow and Chemistry Teaching Fellow. She served as the president of the Random Acts of Kindness Club and participated in the Putnam Mathematics Competition, the preeminent mathematics competition for undergraduates. At graduation, Boucher was awarded the Robert Beinert Prize, the Colleges’ top prize for mathematics students.

At Penn State, Boucher's research area is focused on studying the progression of Alzheimer's as it relates to exercise and sleep patterns in mice. And is addition to her research, Boucher is looking forward to serving as a a mentor and teacher.

“I want to help college students realize their full potential and their future goals just as I was guided by the professors and staff at HWS,” Boucher says.