Halfway through her interview on Scholars Day two decades ago, Dr. Megan Herr ‘09 decided she wanted to attend Daemen University.
“Not the day, the interview itself,” Herr told a room full of the institution’s highest-achieving prospective students. “The person I interviewed with, he was truly interested in what I had to say. And I thought if there’s one person here who really thinks that what I have to say is important, it’s worth coming here. He wasn’t the only one.”
Dr. Herr, who was selected among the first group of Trustee Scholars, served as the keynote speaker at Daemen’s 20th annual Scholars Day celebration on Saturday.
She said her professors pushed her to think critically and introduced her to opportunities she didn’t know existed, including her current career.
Herr is an associate member of the Transplant and Cellular Therapy Program within the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Her strong foundation in epidemiology started at Daemen, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Natural Science Individualized Studies. Herr earned her Ph.D. in Epidemiology from the University of Rochester in 2015 and a postdoctoral fellowship in the Radiation Epidemiology Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
“It’s ok to make mistakes. It’s okay to change your mind, and it’s okay to change your mind more than once. Daemen provided me with a safe and supportive space to grow into the researcher I needed to be for my next steps,” Herr said.
She urged the students to ask questions, have conversations with current students and recent graduates, and make connections.
“Take advantage of the opportunities that Daemen provides,” Herr added. “Work closely with your professors. That’s why you come to a place like Daemen. Daemen will help you achieve your goals, as well.”
Some 200 accepted students were invited to attend this year’s Scholars Day to compete for one of the ten Trustee Scholarship awards, including two full tuition, four $21,000, and four $17,500 scholarships.
“The Enrollment team is grateful to the campus community for making the 20th anniversary of Scholars Day a perfect preview of the supportive learning environment at Daemen,” said Dr. Mimi Steadman, the interim vice president of enrollment management and marketing and communications. “Personalized student interviews were conducted by 58 faculty and administrators, local college counselors, and nine loyal alums, several of whom return as interviewers year after year.”
Current Trustee Scholars also play an important role in Scholars Day, taking part in panel discussions and serving as tour guides for the prospective students and their families.
“I knew from the first time I set foot on campus I wanted to come to Daemen,” said Phillip Ceccarelli, a senior education major and current Trustee Scholar. “My tour guide knew all the people we passed by, and I knew the close-knit community at Daemen was a place in which I could thrive. The Trustee Scholarship is what ultimately gave me the opportunity to come and experience all that Daemen has to offer for myself.”
The Scholars Day Committee will spend the next several weeks selecting students based on their interview scores, application, GPA, and extracurricular activities.
Last year, 62% of the students who attended Scholars Day enrolled at Daemen University.