In three and a half years at UAlbany, Kelly Virkler leaves with a Ph.D. and international attention for groundbreaking work related to crime scene forensic evidence.Read More
UAlbany Gave Her the Courage to Succeed
May 1, 2009
Nasiratu Larry is a fast-track biology major and EOP student who graduates May 17 after only three years. (Photo Mark Schmidt)
When Nasiratu Larry was in middle school, she visited the radiology department of a Yonkers hospital on a career day.
"We took X-rays of our hands. It was fun. I loved it," said Larry, who plans to go to medical school to become a radiologist. Larry is a fast-track biology major, Honors College and Educational Opportunities Program (EOP) student who graduates on May 17 after only three years. Next on the horizon are the MCATs in July and medical school in September, 2010.
Larry comes from a family of radiology technicians. She jokes with her brother about how she will open the family practice one day, and they can all come to work for her. It may be a dream now, but Larry has a proven track record of meeting her goals.
Is she driven? Taking 20 or more credits a semester happened "naturally," said Larry, who was born in Accra, Ghana, moved to Yonkers at age 9, and later, to Lake Mohegan, N.Y.
EOP counselor Patrick Romain warned her not to take too many classes her first semester until she adjusted to university life. He quickly learned she would excel in any accelerated course she took, and soon she was tutoring others in Genetics and General Biology.
Larry speaks the Hausa dialect at home, learned English in school in Africa, and was ranked 12th in the senior class of her high school while still a junior. Today she carries a 3.68 average overall. She has gained research experience, first through the C-STEP summer program, and more recently in the lab of Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences Melinda Larsen.
The greatest opportunity UAlbany has given her is through EOP, Larry said. While at first she didn't want to be away from family and she missed homemade Ghanaian meals, she credits EOP staff with being like family to her. "They are there for you when you need them," said Larry. This support helped her become more independent.
"UAlbany gave me the courage to believe anything is possible," she said.
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