Alumni donor wants science students to think beyond the classroom and the lab

Sunday, November 1, 2015
Christine Carberry '82 and Megan Cooley '17 pose for a photo with an award.

Christine Carberry ’82 is presented the 2015 Alumni Achievement Award by Megan Cooley '17, the 2014 Alumni Meritorious Service Award Association Prize scholarship recipient.

When Christine Carberry graduated from the University of New Hampshire’s College of Life Sciences and Agriculture (COLSA) in 1982, she wasn’t exactly sure which career to pursue with her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry.

“I felt like I made a number of missteps as I tried to figure that out. Eventually I found my way into the biopharmaceutical industry and fell in love with it.” says Carberry, now senior vice president of quality, technical operations, program and alliance management with FORUM Pharmaceuticals in Waltham, Mass. “I have had a wonderful career in developing and bringing new drugs and treatments to patients. But I never knew that this was a career path when I was at UNH.”

A distinguished COLSA alumna and immediate past chair of the COLSA Dean’s Development Board, Carberry has mentored COLSA students for years through the University’s Pathways Mentoring Program and Career Mentor Network, helping a new generation of STEM students make better-informed decisions.

As she worked with UNH’s students, she noticed some undergrads who started off majoring in the sciences would sometimes switch their major after a couple of years. What was it that made them change their minds, she wondered?

“One of the things that was consistent was if they didn’t see themselves in a laboratory or if they weren’t interested in education, they thought they shouldn’t be in science. This said to me that we weren’t providing students with a broad enough view of everything you could do with a science degree,” Carberry says.

As she looked at her giving to her alma mater, she decided if she believed so strongly in retaining students in the sciences, her giving should be targeted to that area.

Carberry recently made a major gift to support career and internship services in COLSA.  This builds upon and expands her 2005 establishment of the Christine St. Martin Carberry ’82 Endowed Fund for Biological Sciences, which provides discretionary program support for the biological sciences in the college.

“We want to provide students with access to alumni and local business people who can help them with career exploration and career transition,” Carberry says. “Alumni can speak to students about what they did with their career and the different career avenues available to them. We want to help students see that there is a much bigger world available to them with a degree in the sciences.”

“Christine’s gift will significantly strengthen our abilities to link students with potential employers,” says Jon Wraith, the college’s dean. “These connections will assist our students in their exploration of the diverse opportunities made possible by a COLSA education. We want to provide our students with an appreciation of the breadth and depth of the many potential career options that exist.”