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What Great Minds Can Do: Fernanda Duarte

"I am so lucky because Seton Hall really invests in undergraduate students. At a larger school, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten to work with a professor on research as a freshman. And I certainly would not have been given so much funding for my own research. Besides, at Seton Hall, I was able to attend a national conference every year — all expenses paid."

Fernanda Duarte, Physics major; Music minor
Miami, Florida

Fernanda rolled up her sleeves and started doing research the second semester of her freshman year at Seton Hall. Working in the lab of Professor Weining Wang, she helped with research on creating more efficient solar cell technology.

By the end of that year, Fernanda had been granted a fellowship funding her own research project. And by the end of her sophomore year, she had received funding from NASA and the New Jersey Space Grant Consortium to continue that project.

“I am so lucky because Seton Hall really invests in undergraduate students,” Fernanda says. “At a larger school, I definitely wouldn’t have gotten to work with a professor on research as a freshman. And I certainly would not have been given so much funding for my own research. Besides, at Seton Hall, I was able to attend a national conference every year — all expenses paid.”

“My favorite conference was in New Orleans,” she says. “It meant a lot to me to be exposed to other scientists at such a professional level and to be able to present my research. It was especially great because most people there were graduate students — my lab partners and I were some of the only undergraduates there; it was impressive.”

Fernanda had other successes while at Seton Hall. The Journal of Materials Science published her research during her sophomore year. The following year, she interned with Premier Brands of America, which makes products for Walmart. Later, she was admitted to her first-choice graduate program at Duke University, where she will enroll after graduation.

Fernanda was also able to balance her love for physics with a love of music. As a member of the University’s Chamber Choir, she performed at Carnegie Hall, The Waldorf Astoria New York and at a professional opera house in New Hampshire. She also took full advantage of the campus social life and the University’s proximity to Manhattan. “I love that we are so close to New York City; I got to see “Jersey Boys,” “Wicked,” “Aladdin” and various concerts at Madison Square Gardens — all for $5 each, thanks to the Students Activities Board.”

“I really loved my time at Seton Hall,” Fernanda says. “I got a fabulous education; I had access to amazing opportunities and I also had lots of fun. I love that everyone here really cares. Seton Hall is so welcoming; everyone is so open-minded and supportive. They just want to see you succeed.”

Seton Hall Career Highlights

  • Research project funded by NASA-New Jersey Space Grant Consortium
  • Internship at Premier Brands of America
  • Performed with Seton Hall’s Chamber Choir at Carnegie Hall
  • Attended American Physical Society conferences and annual meetings
  • Clare Boothe Luce scholar
  • Physics Club member
  • Peer adviser

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