A Field of Infinite Possibilities

Tuesday, September 17, 2013
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Abby Van Note ’15 is a master strategist. In her role as a semi-pro referee, she runs up and down the soccer field with both anticipation and a clear mind. Van Note knows the pressure of public opinion as throngs of fans – in venues like Gillette Stadium – praise or decry the swift judgment that follows her whistle blows. Such training and skill has enabled her to be both a team player and a confident leader as one of the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture first Marble Scholars.

As an ambassador to the college, Van Note is a well-rounded honors student with an abiding interest in genetics. Early on in her high school education, Van Note had a teacher in the biology program that was enthusiastic about genetics. “That’s when I first fell in love with it,” says Van Note who would like to pursue a graduate degree in genetic counseling after graduation from UNH. As a genetics major at COLSA, Van Note works as a lab assistant in the Hubbard Center for Genome Studies with Kelley Thomas as her advisor. In addition to using PCR (polymerase chain reaction) techniques to amplify sections of DNA for further study, Van Note is studying DNA methylation. “That’s the process of opening and closing genes in order for them to be copied,” says Van Note. “We’re looking at DNA methylation in controlling transposable elements mobilization.”

Van Note decided to attend UNH after visiting the campus one sunny spring day. “There is a great mix of people here, ample opportunities, and lots of green space on campus, which was big for me,” says Van Note. “Once I decided to come, I found all kinds of opportunities for undergraduate research.” Van Note makes time for her extra-curricular activities as well; striking just the right balance that enables her to stay smart and fit. “Sports are a huge part of my life,” says Van Note who also works as an intermural supervisor. “I spend my evenings on the fields.”

Van Note enjoys talking with prospective and current students, their parents, alumni and donors about UNH. “I like to be involved, help people, and give back,” says Van Note. “And I want people to know that science majors do things outside of the classroom, too.” Van Note is a prime example of how students can integrate their educational and personal passions into a college experience that truly prepares them to reach their full potential through a life of abundant opportunity.