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Senior driven by his passion for research

Senior Gandhy Pierre-Louis traces his passion for research back to a high school project on Nobel laureate James Watson.

“The idea of contributing to science is what really motivates me, investigating a question that hasn’t been answered,” Pierre-Louis said.

The biology major has found ways to maximize his research experiences during his undergraduate years, devoting every summer and much of his time during the academic year to laboratory work. Projects have included work in the lab of Anna Tan-Wilson, distinguished teaching professor at Binghamton, and at Stanford, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Colorado at Boulder. He’s also working on an honors thesis drawn from his work with Tan-Wilson.

Pierre-Louis, 21, was born in the United States to Haitian immigrants. The family lived in Haiti until he was 7 and then on Long Island.

He participates in the McNair Scholars Program, which is designed to increase the number of low-income, first-generation and/or underrepresented minority students attending graduate school and receiving doctorates.

Pierre-Louis decided to minor in Africana studies after a freshman-year class on the subject inspired him.

“It really taught me about scholarship and what it means to be a scholar,” said Pierre-Louis, who plans to begin graduate school in the fall.

He said he hopes one day to teach and serve as a mentor to minority students.
“I’d like more minorities to go into biomedical research,” he said. “I’d like for the profession to be a reflection of the student body. It makes a better learning experience for the students if they can see themselves in the faculty, and vice versa.”

Shanise Kent, coordinator of the McNair program, said Pierre-Louis set a path for himself early in his college career and never wavered from it.

“You can tell he’s going places by what his concerns are and the way he handles himself,” she said. “Gandhy just knew what he wanted early on. He’s more mature, more disciplined than most students.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08