June 1, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 57°F


Senior Spotlights: School of Humanities and Sciences

Madison Chlebowski

Kristen Harrison/The Ithacan

Senior Madison Chlebowski, a biology major with a double minor in psychology and neuroscience, has developed her passion for biology by conducting research on zebrafish. In the lab, she has learned about the development of their sensory neurons to figure out why the fish behave the way they do.

“Anytime I do a new experiment, figure out something or something works for the first time, that always sticks in my memory,” Chlebowski said.

Chlebowski is also actively involved on campus. She has been a resident assistant for two years in freshman residential housing, is on the Give Back Committee senior class cabinet — which organizes and plans fundraisers and activities for the senior class — and is a member of Students Today Alumni Tomorrow.

“I just like being involved and being a part of the community,” Chlebowski said. “There isn’t just one thing that I am proud of, but just being involved all four years here.”

Chlebowski was accepted into the Peace Corps and plans to work with them by serving in Indonesia as an English teacher and teacher trainer. In a few years, she plans to go to graduate school for developmental biology and neuroscience.

“I know research is what I want to do with my life,” Chlebowski said.


Naomi Hanson

Kristen Harrison/The Ithacan

Senior Naomi Hanson spent her last winter break at Ithaca College attending a conference in Honolulu where she presented on what she has been studying for the past four years — female pirates.

Hanson, a history major with a concentration in female pirates and minors in anthropology and the honors program, has presented her research at 15 different conferences. Her most recent presentation in Hawaii focused on Cheng Shih, the most successful female pirate. Hanson was only one of two undergraduate students who attended the Hawaii conference.

Hanson said her favorite conference was the Phi Alpha Theta Biennial Convention in New Orleans.

“I presented on Anne Bonney and Mary Read, who are two Caribbean pirates,” Hanson said. “It was just a blast. It was the best thing I have ever done.”

Hanson said one of her most memorable moments at the college beyond her studies is being a performer with the Ithaca College Circus Club.

Hanson has accepted a job with Discover Cayuga Lake after graduation. She will be working as a crew member on boats and working tours. Hanson also plans to get her captain’s license.


Jesse Hsu

Kristen Harrison/The Ithacan

Senior Jesse Hsu, a double major in chemistry and physics, has worked with Mike Haaf, professor in the Department of Chemistry, for the past three years in the polymer synthesis lab. Together, they are developing a new kind of functional polymer that can be used for light-controllable fuel storage and release. However, the lab is not the only place the two collaborate.

Hsu has been playing the cello at the college for the past four years for his personal enjoyment. This past February, he performed at his senior recital with Haaf, who played the piano alongside him.

“That was pretty memorable because it definitely speaks to the school and how professors are interested in helping you become whatever you want,” Hsu said. “Even though my chemistry professor’s specialty is organic chemistry, he was willing to go out of his comfort zone. He was able to support me, and I think that was very special.”   

Outside of Ithaca, Hsu has spent two summers doing research. He spent a summer at Georgetown University researching safer contrasts agents for MRI scans. He also spent a summer at Yale University researching a substance called two-dimensional silica.

“These experiences instilled in me a deep passion for scientific research, which is what ultimately inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. program,” Hsu said.

After graduation, Hsu said he plans to study at Cornell University in the doctoral degree program in chemistry.

“As an undergrad … we study and learn a lot,” Hsu said. “Grad school, you have a chance to give back to the field, publish your own works and push the boundaries of our knowledge.”   

Sydney Keller can be reached at skeller@ithaca.edu