Erin Cullather

Well-rounded student-athlete shines in the pool, the classroom and the lab
Erin Cullather presents her work at the NIH.

Meet Erin Cullather, ’19, a biomedical sciences: medical microbiology major from Highland Park, Illinois. We caught up with the stand-out Division I student-athlete as she prepares to return to Durham following a summer internship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.

COLSA: Looking back on your time at UNH so far, what are you most proud of and why?

Cullather: In my time at UNH, I am most proud of my team [UNH Swimming and Diving] winning their eighth America East Championship this past winter. It was an amazing process to set the goal in September and achieve it in February. Every teammate put in the work and contributed to the win.

COLSA: Let's talk favorites. Do you have a favorite course and/or professor? Why is the course or faculty person so great?

Cullather: My favorite course taken at UNH was Pathogenic Microbiology taught by Dr. Montminy. I loved learning about different pathogens and applying them to case studies. It felt like a very applicable course to pre-meds. Dr. Montminy was very enthusiastic about his lectures, which made the course easier to grasp.

COLSA: What motivates you?

Cullather: Intrinsically, I have been motivated by my goal of becoming a physician. However, I would not be able to reach my achievements with my friends, family, teammates and coaches. I am so fortunate to have such a large support group that keeps me motivated to do my best even in the busiest of times.

COLSA: You have spent the summer before your senior year interning at the NIH. What’s that been like?

Cullather: Working at the National Institutes of Health this summer over the summer was a tremendous experience. It was so surreal to be on their main campus—that’s where most of the funding in my field comes from!

I had the opportunity to study glaucoma and it’s neurodegenerative characteristics. I am so fortunate to have had the opportunity and have learned so many new laboratory techniques. I was able to attend different seminars and lectures that guided me to different directions within the biomedical field.

COLSA: How is your UNH education preparing you to achieve your goals?

Cullather: Being a student-athlete at UNH has taught me how to manage my time very efficiently—this is a skill that I will take with me wherever I go. I’ve also taken a wide variety of classes that I feel have made me a very well-rounded student. For example, I was able to combine my interest in writing and medicine in the course Medicine and Literature this past spring.

UNH prepared me for my internship at the NIH by exposing me to so many different laboratory courses during my first three years of college. When I arrived there, I already had a basis of lab techniques and was able to jump in and continue to learn many more techniques throughout the summer.

Also, I worked with the St. Martin Career Exploration Office to create a strong, professional resume, which really helped make my summer internship applications successful.

[Summer 2017, Cullather interned at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where she studied early onset sepsis in premature infants.]

COLSA: What are you planning to do after graduation?

Cullather: Long term, I am planning to apply to medical school and hoping to work in pediatrics. Short term, I thinking about returning to the NIH for either another research opportunity or potentially a job in health communications.

COLSA: Finally, What do you love about UNH?

Cullather: There isn’t a part of UNH that I don’t love! I have had such amazing experiences here as both a student and an athlete. I am fortunate to have professors and resources that have allowed me to succeed both in the pool and the classroom.

The St. Martin Career Exploration Office is a full-service professional development resource offering customized counseling and assistance to students at the College of Life Sciences and Agriculture. Learn more today!