Chemistry Grad Trades Lab for Literacy
The countdown to graduation had already begun, and suddenly Isabella Fante’s resolve to become a chemist wavered.
A Clare Boothe Luce Scholar, Fante, FCRH ’13, had devoted a year to organic chemistry research with Shahrokh Saba, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry. But as she approached the fall semester of senior year—a season of deadlines for many postgraduate opportunities—she felt a twinge of doubt. With Saba’s support and the help of Fordham’s Office of Career Services, the White Plains, N.Y., native applied to City Year, an AmeriCorps program that places young adults ages 17 to 24 in high-needs public schools to provide full- time support for students. The program accepted her and placed her in an elementary school in their San José/Silicon Valley location, where she is providing reading and math tutoring.
“I did a lot of volunteering in educational organizations during my four years at Fordham, tutoring in after-school programs and in the chemistry department,” she says. “So this seemed like a good fit.”
Her year in California has Fante considering future work in education policy or a career in public health.
“I wanted to use medical research to help women of low-income communities who lacked the resources they deserved,” Fante says of her earlier goals.
“I still hope to do this, though no longer through a career in medical research. I think pursuing a career in public health will allow me to use more of my skills for the same purpose.”