Alliance with Science: Alum pursues her passion



2014 Graduate Adriana Newson

Adriana Newson, a 2014 Mount Mary University graduate, first came to Mount Mary as a biomedical engineering transfer student from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, and left with a new outlook on life and a passion to continue her schooling to become a physician’s assistant. Newson’s journey was deeply rooted in her love of science.

“After studying engineering for two years, I discovered that it was not what I really wanted to do,” Newson said. “I had rushed into things too quickly after high school and hadn’t thoroughly taken the time to figure out what I wanted to do with my life … I discovered I still had the passion for science but not engineering.”

Newson chose Mount Mary because of its reputation. She entered the science program and became a biology-health sciences major with a minor in chemistry, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree.

Taking full advantage of what Mount Mary had to offer her, Newson became a micro lab technician during her junior and senior years. Newson said she enjoyed caring for her collection of microbes, and it was one of her favorite memories as a student.

“Adriana was my student in BIO 442, Advanced Microbiology,” said Teresa Holzen, assistant professor of biology. “She did a really interesting experiment where she investigated whether exposing a population of bacteria to ultraviolet light caused an increase in the rate of antibiotic resistance in that bacteria population. I was really impressed with her attention to detail.”

Newson now works as a microbiologist. She uses her attention to detail to interpret, analyze and report the results of biological and chemical tests and monitors the yeast colonies established during yeast propagation throughout the brewing process for MillerCoors Brewing.

Newson is grateful for the undergraduate experiences that Mount Mary provided her and for the science department and its influence on her.

“Maureen Leonard, my adviser, professor and supervisor, left the largest impression on me blossoming into a scientist,” Newson said. “I would be remiss to not also mention Colleen Conway, Steven Levsen, Lynn Diener, Teresa Holzen, and Sister Pat; each of them have left their own mark on my understanding and love of science.”

Newson said her natural curiosity and tendency to ask questions led her to the sciences, yet it was an art class that truly gave her direction.

“With a critical eye, I was able to discover the intricacies of the human form, and I found them beautiful,” Newson said. “After I developed a complete understanding of the superficial aspect of the human form, I wanted to know what lay beneath the skin.”

This curiosity about the human body, fostered through art, inspired Newson to pursue a career in medicine as a physician’s assistant. She is currently saving money so she can continue her education and work toward that goal, while remaining true to Mount Mary’s values and mission.

“As I move forward in my career toward what I would like to do, more characteristics of the [Mount Mary] mission statement will be relevant,” Newson said. “As a physician assistant I hope to become a leader in healthcare and remain creative as I use innovation and new ideas to heal problems I see in my patients.”

FEATURE IMAGE PHOTO BY RENNIE PATTERSON Microscope featured is from actual MMU Science Lab

Microscope featured is from actual MMU Science Lab

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