GROUP ALUMNI

LILY ETEMAD

Researcher from 2013 – 2015

B.S. in Chemistry, Class of 2015

DDS, UConn School of Dentistry, Class of 2020

Currently in Dental Residency at The Ohio State University

Biography

My name is Lily Etemad and I am from Trumbull, CT and graduated from Fairfield University in 2015 as a chemistry major. I joined the AVD lab in 2013 and helped launch one of his first projects at Fairfield University – yes I am proud to be one of the first! I have completed my first year of dental school at University of CT School of Dental Medicine. I hope to become an orthodontist and open up my own practice after dental school. In my free time I enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and playing tennis with friends. I love to travel and explore new places, meet new people, and try exotic foods.

GEORGE NACLERIO

Researcher from 2015 – 2016

B.S. in Chemistry, Class of 2016

Currently obtaining PhD in Organic Chemistry at Purdue University

Biography

 

My name is George Naclerio and I am from East Haven, CT. I obtained my B.S. in Chemistry from Fairfield University in 2016. In my spare time I enjoy working out, particularly in boxing as I am a former two-time national champion, and getting together with friends/colleagues. I joined the Van Dyke lab in the Spring of 2015 where I worked on the synthesis and optimization of our group's Capture-Tag-Release (CTR) probe. Through this experience, I discovered my passion for organic synthesis and will be starting my Ph.D. in organic chemistry this Fall at Purdue University.

MICHAEL VESSICCHIO

Researcher from 2015 – 2016

B.S. in Biochemistry, Class of 2016

PharmD, UConn School of Pharmacy w/ Honors, Class of 2020

Biography

My name is Michael Vessicchio and I am from East Haven, CT. I graduated from Fairfield University in 2016 as a biochemistry major. I worked in the AVD lab starting in 2014 and my project involved the biochemical characterization of our group's Capture-Tag-Release (CTR) probe. I am currently a doctoral student at the UCONN School of Pharmacy and I have found my passion for science and health in this career. My hobbies include playing sports and cooking.

TORI JEDSON

Researcher during 2014

B.S. in Biochemistry, Class of 2017

Johnson & Wales Physician Assistant Program; PA in Dermatology 

Biography

I was a biochemistry major at Fairfield, class of 2017, having done research with the Van Dyke Group in the Fall of 2014. I grew up in Rhode Island and am back here now for the Physician Assistant Program at Johnson and Wales University. Outside of PA school I love the beach and I love to cook!

DAN GATAZKA

 

Researcher from 2016 – 2018

B.S. in Biochemistry, Class of 2018

Currently obtaining an M.D. at New York Institute of Technology

Biography

I am a biochemistry major here at Fairfield who joined the Van Dyke Group in the Fall of 2016. I grew up in the capital region in New York State, and I'm an avid golfer who is always up for a quick round while our reactions run. Beyond Fairfield I hope to attend medical school and eventually open my own practice. The best part of working in the Van Dyke Lab is being able to do science every week with a great group of people, although being able to use cool equipment (such as my favorites the syringe pump and static gun) is a close second!

MARIAH HANANIA

Researcher from 2016 – 2018

B.S. in Biochemistry, Class of 2018

Biography

My name is Mariah Hanania and I am a senior at Fairfield University. My major is biochemistry and I am minoring in mathematics. I am from Milford, Connecticut and the oldest of six (five girls, one boy). I was previously pre-med and wished to go to medical school to possibly become a doctor/pediatrician but after working in the lab with Professor Van Dyke, I have realized that I may be interested in other fields / would like to do research in the future. 

 

Fun fact: I love to sing and cover songs. I started singing when I was 11 and used a webcam to record myself, until I finally reached a confidence level to perform in front of an audience in middle school and high school. I still sing today!

TYLER LYONS

Researcher from 2017 – 2019

B.S. in Chemistry, Class of 2019

Mass Spectrometry Research Scientist, Albany Molecular Research Inc.

Biography

I am a chemistry major at Fairfield who joined the group in the Fall of 2017. After taking organic chem with Professor Van Dyke, I knew I had picked the right major. I grew up in Albany, NY playing the wonderful but ever challenging game of golf. I hope to attend medical school after Fairfield, but am always keeping an open mind for potential career paths. 

EUNSUN "SUNNY" HONG

Researcher from 2017 – 2019

B.S. in Global Public Health Studies, Class of 2019

Working with Peace Corps in Belize

Biography

My name is Eunsun Hong and I am from Shelton, CT. I am a junior at Fairfield University and joined the Van Dyke lab in Fall 2017. I have designed my own major in Global Public Health Sciences and I am minoring in Biochemistry and International Studies. After graduating, I hope to work at a non-profit organization focusing on international public health for a couple of years then go to medical school to become a pediatrician. A fun fact about me is that I have been to The Gambia and taught a Korean class to middle school girls while I was there. 

JUSTIN GILBERTSON

Researcher from 2018 – 2019

B.S. in Biochemistry, Class of 2019

Currently working as an EMT

Biography

My name is Justin Gilbertson. I am Biochemistry major and a local Fairfield county resident, residing in Trumbull. I enjoy fitness, nutrition, and mostly anything in relation to science. The best part about working in the Van Dyke laboratory is being surrounded by hardworking, driven individuals whose passion for the subject is apparent. Fun fact, I produce house music under the name Phantos. 

JUSTIN MERCADO

Researcher from 2018 – 2020

B.S. in Chemistry, Class of 2020

Currently an analytical lab scientist at FreeThink Technologies

Biography

My name is Justin Mercado and I am a junior chemistry major here at Fairfield; I am from New York City. I plan to do research in an advanced field of chemistry one day. Currently, I interned at an environmental analytical chemistry lab called Complete Enviornmental Testing. My days consisted mostly of performing wet chemistry tests on different water and soil samples. If I am not doing chemistry, I am most likely trying to learn how to juggle and it is going surprisingly well.

CLAIRE MULLIGAN

Researcher from 2018 – 2020

B.S. in Biochemistry, Class of 2020

Currently working with Jesuit Volunteer Core

Biography

My name is Claire Mulligan and I’m a junior biochemistry major, with a Spanish minor. I’m from Easton, Pennsylvania, home of the Crayola factor. I love biochemistry because of its problem-solving nature. I like cooking & eating, reading, listening to podcasts, and spending time with family and friends.  

RAQUEL "ROCKY" REILLY

Researcher from 2017 – 2020

B.S. in Biochemistry, Class of 2020

2020 Fulbright Scholar to Philipps-University of Marburg, Germany

Currently obtaining a Ph.D. in Yale's Biochemistry, Quantitative Biology, Biophysics and Structural Biology (BQBS) program

Biography:

My name is Raquel Reilly I'm from Prospect, CT and after graduating with a biochemistry major from Fairfield University, I received a Fulbright scholarship to pursue research on treatments of myasthenia gravis in Marburg, Germany. I hope to pursue a career in academia.

 

I have a one year old morkie named Benji. I enjoy spending time with my dog, running, and going to the beach. The most fun fact I could think of about myself is that I've been skydiving!

Aaron Van Dyke

Associate Professor of Chemistry

avandyke@fairfield.edu

Bannow Science Center 315

203–254–4000

Fairfield University, Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry

1073 N. Benson Road

Fairfield, CT 06824

© 2023 by Aaron Van Dyke