Erin Goley ’98

How has your Hood education benefited you?
The most tangible benefit of my time at Hood was my first job after graduation. Immediately after graduation, I worked as a laboratory technician with Doug Luster at the USDA at Fort Detrick. Doug Luster was an adjunct instructor in the chemistry department at the time and also ran a lab at the USDA. I had worked with him and Oney Smith for my senior thesis. That job led to my decision to pursue a doctorate and my choice of UC-Berkeley for graduate school, which, of course, led me to where I am today.

How did your time at Hood prepare you for the future?
The science coursework was appropriate in breadth and depth to prepare me for the rigors of graduate coursework in molecular and cell biology. What I think was more important from my Hood education, though, was the liberal arts aspect: I entered graduate school much better prepared in my ability to write clearly and logically than many of my classmates.

What were your extracurricular experiences?
Soccer, soccer, soccer! I hadn’t played organized sports before Hood, but was able to join Hood’s fledgling soccer team as a freshman. Many, if not most, of my best memories from Hood are times spent with my teammates and other athletes. Soccer was a great stress relief for me during graduate school!

Did you decide your major right away?
I knew it would be science, and probably something related to biology. I decided on a double major in biochemistry and math: I liked the breadth of courses in biology, chemistry and physics required for the biochem major and figured that additional training in math couldn’t hurt a career in science.

What is your favorite memory of Hood?
Oh, so many. Definitely playing soccer. Pergola Party and Pre-Season. Messiah. Getting my ring. Antics with my dorm-mates in Shriner. The traditions.

Who were your mentors at Hood?
I had many. I worked with Oney Smith and Doug Luster for my senior thesis, but my first research experience was the Summer Science Institute with Ricky Hirschhorn. Sharon Smith was my academic adviser, and Susan Ensel was, and is, someone I admired and looked to for advice.

What is your opinion on the value of a Hood education?
As a future scientist, it was a nice balance between a strong science curriculum with connections to researchers at Fort Detrick and a solid liberal arts education.

What is your opinion on the value of a liberal arts education?
For me, it prepared me to tackle the writing and creative thinking aspects of being a scientist that may not have been as well developed without the broad coursework required at Hood.

What would you say to students applying to Hood?
Everything I’ve mentioned above: the benefits I’ve reaped from the connections to Fort Detrick, the fun I had playing soccer, the lasting friendships and memories of Hood traditions, and the quality of the liberal arts curriculum.

Why did you choose to attend Hood College?
A family friend had graduated from Hood and recommended I check it out. I loved the campus when I visited, the majors and course offerings were in line with what I wanted, and I was offered significant merit-based scholarships. It’s obviously not a factor anymore, but I was also drawn to the fact that it was a woman’s college.