Dec. 2012

Hi JoAnn,

I am preparing for an interview tomorrow with Heidelberg University for an Assistant Professor of Biology and as I was thinking back about my inspiration for wanting to become a Scientist I always remember the great experiences I had at Be Wise Camp in 1993 and 1994 (I think, I remember Madame Curie was one of Scientists for one of the years because I wore the shirt well past high school). I specifically remember completing an experiment with different antacids to see which one would absorb the most stomach acid. I still to this day have that same excitement about finding out the results of my experiments.

Since Be Wise Camp I graduated valedictorian from Clear Fork High School, attended Mount Vernon Nazarene University for my B.S. (winning the Outstanding student in Biology award), attended Ball State University for my M.S. (studied ticks and tick-borne disease), attended The Ohio State University and obtained a Ph.D. in Veterinary Preventive Medicine (researched food-borne disease pathogens from swine and cattle), went to the USDA for a post doc in the same research area and am now looking for a position as a professor (preferably) at a small liberal arts college.

I just wanted to write to thank you for being involved with this camp and to let you know that it did make a difference in my life. If I am able to get a position in Ohio I would love to one day be able to volunteer my time to help with this camp.

Ever grateful,

Melanie Abley MS, PhD
Research Microbiologist (Post Doc)
Bacterial Epidemiology and
Antimicrobial Resistance Research Unit

Oct. 2014

Hello Mrs. Benseler!

I don’t expect you to remember me, but I am a 1996 Be WISE Camp alum — right when the camp had just started! I remember you very well, and still recall the Be WISE camp song we used to sing — (“we’re at… Be WISE Camp… we’re at… Be WISE Camp!”…). I also remember the “ort” program, and that we were the first year that our number was zero… haha — I recall that feeling of accomplishment amongst the campgirls.

I wanted to write to you because I am a firm believer in paying it forward and serving as a mentor for students in Ohio… much like many have been for me. That includes experiences that I have had such as Be WISE Camp. Being in the science field myself, I am an advocate for educational program for girls, and leadership and scientific careers for women. Ever since the age of 7, I have always wanted to be a dentist… my parents come from a very modest background but still made it a point to enroll me in science programs, such as Be WISE Camp.

I followed through on my dreams and became a dentist in 2009. Then, I completed a general practice residency and worked in a private practice in the Pittsburgh area. I decided my true passion was working with kids, so I went back and subspecialized in pediatric dentistry. Today, I am now settled in Cleveland and perform oral surgeries on infants as little as 3 hours old. I can truly say I love what I do!

I would love to be involved with the camp this summer if at all possible. I do not know if the opportunity exists, but if it does, I would love to volunteer my time and encourage the girls to go into scientific fields that were once so strongly male-dominated… (they still are, but at least it’s getting better!) Thank you so much for continuing to do what you do. Please know that you truly make a difference, and that Be WISE Camp is truly a wonderful place for any girl to be!

My best,
Shreya N. Modi