The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

75° Stony Brook, NY
The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

Newsletter

    Mary Krtitzer- Teacher Profile

    Mary Kritzer, PhD, has a lot to be proud of. She is a respected faculty member in the Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. She conducts research here at Stony Brook. She also teaches at the medical school and is the director of the first-year Neuroscience class. Now Kritzer can add one more thing to that list of accomplishments – she just recently mentored an Intel Competition finalist, Rebecca Kaufman, a senior at Croton-Harmon High School.

    Dr. Kritzer wasn’t always interested in science and medicine. In fact, in college, she was an English major, with no idea of the event that would impact and change her life altogether. It was an opportunity to work in a neurobiology lab, and she fell in love with it. “I abandoned all hopes of medical school,” Dr. Kritzer says laughing. “I went off to grad school.” And what a good decision that was. She got her PhD, and now spends every waking moment doing what she loves.

    When asked about her latest accomplishment of mentoring an Intel finalist in this year’s competition, she says, “It was fun [mentoring Rebecca]. Students at that age are just beginning their science career.” She adds, “They are more free-thinking. They ask you questions that you never thought of.” Dr. Kritzer believes she got lucky in mentoring Rebecca. “It was a great fit. Rebecca is a sweetheart.”

    Rebecca’s project related to Dr. Kritzer’s work in the field of neurobiology. The project that the two of them worked on for the competition was related to understanding the neurobiology of the cognitive problems that occur in schizophrenia. It was prize-winning research which eventually landed Rebecca the coveted title of Intel finalist. Dr. Kritzer agrees. “It certainly is a great accomplishment,” although she admits that competition is the slightest aspect of it. “The experience is great,” she adds, “you get to try something in a hands-on way.”

    Dr. Kritzer realizes that she was very fortunate to get her break in college, having the opportunity to work in a lab. “It was a life-changing event” she says. She now thinks that it is time to give back and return the favor. When asked about what advice she’d give to Stony Brook students who are looking for that opportunity in this school, she says the most important thing is to persevere. She adds, “Be professional about it. Don’t just knock on my door. Arrange for a meeting to discuss it further. And do your homework. Have a little knowledge of what research the lab is conducting.” She says a lot of professors are busy but are always willing to help a student. “If they are busy, don’t give up. It is just a test to see how much you want it. Persevere.”

    Leave a Comment
    Donate to The Statesman

    Your donation will support the student journalists of Stony Brook University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    More to Discover
    Donate to The Statesman

    Comments (0)

    All The Statesman Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *