The Road to Success

Senior research student Ryan Duggan will be following in advisor and Biology Professor Preston Garcia’s exact academic footsteps upon graduating in May with his recent acceptance into the University of Connecticut’s Molecular and Cell Biology Ph.D. program.

“To be following in Dr. Garcia's footsteps is incredible,” said Duggan. “Dr. Garcia has been an incredible mentor for me during my years here at Castleton. When I arrived, I actually had the intention of becoming a medical doctor. However, that changed when I worked in Dr. Garcia's lab in the summer between sophomore and junior year. I fell in love with doing research and have worked in his lab ever since.”

Originally from Pine Bush, New York, Duggan currently majors in Biology with a concentration in Molecular Biology and Biomedicine with a minor in Chemistry.

A prominent mentor for Duggan, Dr. Garcia earned his Master's of Science and Ph.D. in 2006 from UConn where his research focused on the mechanisms of Succinate-Mediated Catabolite Repression in the nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbiont, Sinorhizobium meliloti.

“To have him not only want to pursue a graduate degree in Microbiology, but work on the degree in the Molecular and Cell Biology program at the University of Connecticut, which is the exact same program and institution I received both my Masters and Ph.D., makes it a little extra special” explained Garcia. “He interviewed with some of my doctoral committee members and will be walking the same hallways and lab spaces where I trained.”

Duggan’s hopes after achieving his Ph.D. is to get as much exposure to different experiences as possible through a postdoctoral fellowship before eventually running a lab for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Duggan marks Dr. Garcia’s second research student to be admitted into a Microbiology Ph.D. program.

“Dr. Garcia really cares about his students, taking the time to write quality letters of recommendation, review resumes, and personal statements, and meeting as often as possible to really figure out their goals. He did all of this for me and I could not be more grateful for his guidance and everything he has done” said Duggan. “I feel like I have a lot to live up to.”