Education is a family affair for first-generation Mount grad

May 25, 2018

Lily Goodman of Brewster, N.Y. graduated Summa Cum Laude from Mount Saint Mary College on Saturday, May 19.

Lily Goodman of Brewster, N.Y. graduated Summa Cum Laude from Mount Saint Mary College on Saturday, May 19.


When Lily Goodman of Brewster, N.Y. received her bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary College this May, she had earned it in every sense of the word. 

And she’s only the second person in her family to have received a college degree.

Goodman, a Biology major on the pre-physician’s assistant track with a minor in Chemistry, made the most of her time at the Mount. She participated in the rigorous Honors program, held leadership positions in the Chemistry Honor Society Gamma Sigma Epsilon and the Mount’s chapter of Exercise is Medicine, and was an active member of the college’s American Chemical Society chapter. 

Through it all, Goodman kept her grades up and graduated Summa Cum Laude. In addition to tutoring Chemistry, she also earned the distinction of becoming both a Ralph and Aquinas scholar, meaning she is in the top 5 percent of her class.

Goodman is a first-generation college graduate and the second person in her family to earn a degree – the first being her brother George Goodman ’16, a Mount Nursing graduate who now works at Four Winds Hospital in Katonah, N.Y. Goodman’s sister, Louise Goodman, will be studying Psychology and English at the Mount beginning in the Fall 2018 semester. 

There’s more where that came from, she explained: Goodman is one of seven siblings, and all of those who have gone to college thus far have picked the Mount. If any of the remaining siblings choose to get a college education, there’s a good chance it’ll be at her and her brother’s alma mater, she said. 

Goodman’s college experience was greatly enhanced thanks to the mentorship of Suparna Bhalla, associate professor of biology. Under Bhalla’s guidance, Goodman participated in two years of the Mount’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program. Both times, Goodman examined the effect of cinnamaldehyde – the component of cinnamon responsible for flavor and aroma – on cancerous cells. 

“We were using this component from cinnamon to push the cancer cells to die,” Goodman explained. “Throughout the whole process, she talked to me about career choices, what to do now to apply to grad schools later, and how to focus my vision. Dr. Bhalla was the one who made me want to get involved in all the great programs the Mount offered to me.”

When she looks back at her first semester, Goodman can hardly recognize herself. She’s made great strides over the last four years academically, and her confidence is much improved, she noted.

“I’m not the same person at all,” she said. “How I approach problems is entirely different,” With the basics of how to perform an experiment ingrained in her as second nature, “now I’m going beyond that, deeper than that. I’m proud of the person I’ve become.”

Goodman is planning on attending a physician’s assistant graduate school program in 2019. In the interim, she plans on continuing her work at St. Luke’s Cornwall Hospital as a scribe and as a medical assistant at Dr. Prabhu Pandurang’s practice in New Windsor, N.Y.