A rising STEM professional and Alcorn State University graduate is taking her expertise to the field of education.
Penn State’s Eberly College of Science announced that Dr. Melanie McReynolds '09 will join the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology faculty. McReynolds will serve as a Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Early Career chair in biochemistry and molecular biology.
McReynolds not only looks forward to serving her alma mater but also, she’s proud to begin her career at an institution that values science and her potential contributions to the field.
“It’s a surreal feeling but an absolute blessing returning to Penn State to start my tenure-track journey,” said McReynolds. “The Huck Institute of Life Sciences is committed to investigating science with insight, science with innovation, and science with impact. Huck believes in me, my science and future potential, and what I will bring to the table.”
Advancing students' achievements and unlocking innovative findings in science are benchmarks that McReynolds plans to reach on her journey.
“I am looking forward to contributing to the technological innovations and advancements while driving forth scientific discoveries. Through this role, I plan to promote excellence in research and graduate training across the life sciences for all individuals.”
Creating opportunities for rising Black scientists is a goal for McReynolds. She plans to leverage her faculty position as a platform to mentor aspiring minority STEM professionals the same way she was mentored during her days as an undergraduate at Alcorn.
“As a former president of the Black Graduate Student Association at Penn State, I look forward to paying forward the opportunities that were given to me through building and enhancing graduate community, education, and scientific training. The Bridges program's purpose was meant to increase the representation of faculty of color in the sciences. Therefore, it is a great honor for me to return as a faculty member to the place that allowed me to succeed and tackle academia. I look forward to continuing my relationship between Alcorn and Penn State for the future generations of students to come. It’s only fair the opportunities that were granted to me are available to others too.”
The Alcorn State to Penn State Bridges to the Doctorate Program (Master’s program) was one of many initiatives that helped set McReynolds on her current path while at Alcorn. She’s thankful for the foundation the University provided for her.
“My scientific foundation was built at Alcorn. Alcorn provided me direct access to pipeline programs that were meant to increase representation in the biomedical sciences. It was a requirement for us to tackle internships and research programs. Over my years, I’ve realized that this was quite a unique approach taken by Alcorn, and it’s been fruitful for many alumni. Alcorn is involved in every facet of where I am now. All of my opportunities and exposure were due to the connections and partnerships the University gained. I am forever grateful for Alcorn and will spend my career doing the same for future students and generations.”