Odaelys Walwyn experienced winter for the first time in 2007 in Rochester, N.Y. Born and raised in Saint Croix, USVI, the frigid weather and snow didn’t thrill her, but it didn’t deter her from completing the Post-baccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Ms. Walwyn, who received a B.S. in biology from the University of the Virgin Islands was eager to complete the post-bac, which is designed to encourage underrepresented minorities to pursue a research doctorate and prepare for careers as research scientists and leaders in the biomedical community. Although she never did learn to love cold weather, she decided to stay in New York to pursue a Ph.D. degree. She arrived at the doors of New York Medical College, where now, in the laboratory of Dana Mordue, Ph.D., assistant professor of microbiology and immunology, her research focuses on toxoplasma gondii and the genes responsible for chronic infection. Outside of the lab, she stays active as a mentor in the Science and Technology Enrichment Program (STEP) and the high school research program for minority students. She is also co-president of the Black Student Association (BSA) and is an adjunct faculty member at nearby Pace University where she teaches introductory level biology labs. Ms. Walwyn expects to graduate in 2015 and plans to pursue her passion—teaching—although she is not yet sure in which climate
What is something people would be surprised to know about you?
My dad made my name up using letters from his name and my mom’s name—Trevor Buntley + Claudette Deloris = Odaelys, go figure. I tell people it means mother and father.
What is your definition of a good life?
To me a good life is one that entails God, family and love.
What one word describes you?
Optimist pretty much sums me up.
What’s been your favorite memory at the College?
My favorite memory is when I met my BFF, Candace Ford [M.S.’09, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology] at the Integrated Ph.D. Program orientation.
Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years?
I see myself with a great job, an awesome husband and three kids.
Is there any faculty mentor member that has really stood out to you?
I really admire Drs. Dana Mordue and Raj Tiwari in micro. They have both been a great help to me.
If you could have anyone, dead or alive, as a dinner guest, who would it be?
I would love to have dinner with Oprah Winfrey. I think she is an amazing woman.
What talent would you love to have?
I would love to be a gymnast.
What is your guilty pleasure?
I have a weakness for chocolate.
You’re stranded on a desert island. What three things would you take?
I would bring my iPhone, food, and my glasses so I can see.
What kind of music do you listen to?
I listen to R&B, gospel, old-school and pop. Being from the islands I also enjoy Reggae, soca, calypso and dancehall music.
If you had a magic wand what would you wish for?
At this point in time I would wish to graduate!
Page updated: December 6, 2013