In The Light: Heather Frank

Katie Curtis

Heather Frank, from Boulder, Colo., has found her home away from home at Colgate University. This is not just because of the school’s academic reputation, but also due to her countless involvements on campus and the people she has met along the way.

Frank is a concentrator in neuroscience on the pre-medical track. To fill the rest of her time, Frank has taken on the roles of captain of the Women’s Club Water Polo team, coach of the Men’s Club Water Polo team, Educational Chairwoman of Kappa Kappa Gamma, tutor/teacher for Introduction to Brain and Behavior courses and she is also an Inactive member of the National Ski Patrol.

Frank decided to spend two semesters studying off-campus. She first traveled to the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia to study the health and healing practices of indigenous people.

“This semester re-framed my understanding of medicine and medical treatment by expanding my knowledge beyond traditional westernized views and incorporating an appreciation for spirituality and cultural values in a patient’s well-being,” Frank said.

She spent the fall of her senior year in Washington, D.C. working in the Neuroplasticity unit of the Mood and Anxiety Disorders Program of the National Institute of Mental Health. While there, her research was focused on understanding the anatomical and behavioral consequences of ablation of neurogenesis in the hippocampus and olfactory bulb of the adult rat brain.

“This work framed my senior thesis for my cellular neuroscience major and gave me real-world experiences working in a lab at the nation’s top biomedical research institute. This semester also helped me make connections at the NIH that have facilitated my job search for opportunities after Colgate,” Frank said.

After applying to many liberal arts colleges, Frank realized that Colgate was the place for her.

“I knew that I wanted a small, liberal arts school, and so I applied to a bunch all across the country. I got into Colgate, came to April Visit Days, liked it and decided that I would give it a try and if I did not like it I could always leave. Turns out I liked it a lot and I am still here.”

The most influential aspect of Frank’s Colgate career does not come directly from her involvements or titles, but from the people she has built relationships with along the way.

“The most influential and unique part of my Colgate experience has been the relationships that I have made with my professors in and out of the classroom. I think that over my four years here, every single one of my professors has gotten to know me on a

first-name basis,” Frank said.