Biochemistry and molecular biology student inspired by faculty

Sometimes we dive into a new stage of our lives not fully aware of how transformative the journey itself will be and we end up feeling more confident and accomplished as a result. It’s the kind of story that inspires others to take a plunge in their own lives. It’s a Cornell story. It’s Danielle Amonica’s story. 

Danielle Amonica
Danielle Amonica in the Russell Science Center.

Amonica arrived at Cornell wanting to be a biology major, a major with a wide range of career paths post-graduation. After she completed her general chemistry courses, a chorus of faculty began to encourage her to do more in chemistry, beyond just the general requirements because her faculty and advisors saw something in Amonica she did not initially see in herself. 

Professor of Chemistry Craig Teague taught Amonica’s first Cornell chemistry class, Chemical Principles I, and saw she had a strong background in the sciences. 

“She asks good questions about the material she’s learning and is willing to work hard to keep learning,” Teague says. “She maintains an excellent attitude. She has a bright future, and I’m trying to help her see she has a wide range of options, including research in chemistry, for life beyond Cornell.” 

As a result, she is now a biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) major. 

“I was scared, but they believed in me and with hard work and dedication, I achieved success beyond what I ever thought I was capable of,” Amonica says. “My critical thinking, reasoning, and logic skills have developed so much from being a first-year student. Classes are challenging, but the growth you experience within those classes is unlike anything else. Especially with the help of the amazing BMB faculty, you will accomplish things you never thought were possible.”

Amonica took three organic chemistry courses as a sophomore and admits they were tough but equally rewarding. 

“Each success made me recognize my own potential and a future for myself in science,” she says. “After these courses, I realized that I can dream so much bigger than I had been before.” 

Those dreams include pursuing a master’s or a doctoral degree after she graduates from Cornell. She sees research in her future and the title of professor. 

“I have really great relationships with my professors and they have inspired and believed in me so much, and I would love to do that for other students,” Amonica says. 

Amonica and Teague, along with other Cornell students and chemistry faculty, will be presenting their research at the American Chemical Society’s National Meeting in March 2020 in Philadelphia.