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Meet undergraduate Christian Allyn

Christian Allyn

Horticulture and resource economics major Christian Allyn grew up in his beloved hometown of North Canaan, Connecticut, attending the Housatonic Valley Regional High School and participating in multiple events with the National FFA Organization. A seventh semester senior, Allyn is in the process of developing his own invasive plant consulting business and is heavily involved in the local government of North Canaan and Northwestern Connecticut. Allyn is a part of many organizations and programs here at UConn, and hopes to use his education to better the lives of people in both North Canaan and northwestern Connecticut. Here is what he said about his experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? I was first drawn to UConn by Bonnie Burr, an assistant director and department head in UConn Extension, at a legislative dinner I attended in high school. The extension activities that she discussed inspired me, and I reached out to her afterwards. I really wanted to be part of the conversation between Connecticut residents and the researchers that further the field of agriculture. During a campus visit, Patricia Jepson from academic programs solidified my decision to apply to CAHNR.


Meet undergraduate Ester Wasserman

Ester Wasserman

Seventh semester senior Ester Wasserman is from East Haddam, Connecticut. She’s been a counselor at the Hole in The Wall Gang Camp for three years, where she interacts with kids diagnosed with serious illnesses. A diagnostic genetic sciences major, Wasserman enjoys working with kids, watching documentaries and crafting needlepoint DNA structures. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? I went to a STEM magnet high school in Hartford, called the Academy of Aerospace and Engineering. UConn was close, and it had a great academic reputation. The DGS program has given me so many opportunities, and I’m glad for that.  

What is your major, and why did you choose it? I am a diagnostic genetic sciences major. I was originally majoring in physiology and neurobiology, and I was on the pre-med track in my freshman year. I went to an honors event about genetic counseling, which was led by Dr. Judy Brown. I didn’t even know that was a profession. When I left, I realized that genetic counseling really interested me. After doing some research, I applied to the program in my sophomore year. I’m incredibly fascinated by genetics and how it influences everything about us.


Meet undergraduate Sarah Mealy

Sarah Mealy (right)

Sarah Mealy on the right.

Small-town student Sarah Mealy is from Plainville, Massachusetts. A seventh semester senior, she plays lacrosse and is passionate about traveling, sports medicine and maternal/global care. Mealy is currently studying athletic training as an undergraduate. She has worked as a Red Cross volunteer in Tanzania and hopes to go to medical school. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? I transferred here from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus when I was a freshman. UConn was my top pick for its outstanding athletic training program. I have access to cutting edge clinical developments and top notch clinical rotations. I toured the campus, ended up loving it and haven’t looked back ever since! I’m pumped to be here.

What is your major, and why did you choose it? I am an athletic training major. I originally was a biology major at Dartmouth, and I wanted to pursue marine biology. It didn’t work out for me, and I reflected on my strong passion for athletics. I saw a news article when I was younger about the athletic trainer for the Celtics, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So when I decided to switch majors, I chose athletic training.


Meet undergraduate Sarah Robbins

Sarah Robbins

Honors student Sarah Robbins is a full time junior at the University of Connecticut. She has conducted research with UConn’s pathobiology department on infectious diseases and viral vectors. Robbins is also an Office of Undergraduate Research (OUR) peer research ambassador, and she talks to undergraduate students about her lab experiences. A Manchester resident, Robbins enjoys traveling, running, hiking and the outdoors. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? The research opportunities and the pathobiology department were both huge factors in attracting me to UConn. There aren’t very many colleges that have a department focused specifically on infectious diseases. Additionally, there is ample support and resources for student research.


Meet undergraduate Luke Gersz

Luke Gersz

A senior natural resource and history dual degree student at the University of Connecticut Storrs campus, Luke Gersz has worked as an intern with the UConn Libraries’ Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC) during the spring 2016 semester. A Killingworth resident, Gersz enjoys hiking and the outdoors and hopes to work as a surveyor one day. Here is what he said about his experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? UConn had a large amount of majors to offer. I came in as an undecided student, and they had a lot of choices for me. The in-state tuition made it affordable, as well.

What is your major, and why did you choose it? I’m a history and natural resources major, with a concentration in geomatics.

In my sophomore year, I went through the list of majors and I realized that I wanted a career that involved the environment and would let me be in the outdoors. It felt practical and applicable to go into natural resources, and I’ve narrowed it down to the geomatics concentration. I chose history because I’ve always enjoyed the subject, with the idea that I might teach one day. If I do go into it, I’d like to teach American history at the high school level.