Dr. Rebecca Erwin-Cohen is a 1990 alumna with her Bachelor of Science in Biology. While a student she was involved with the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Gannon Ski Club. She has fond memories of her time on campus such as, socializing in front of Zurn Science Center, the Student Activities Center, the SGA office and the many study rooms within Nash Library. The friendships that she made still remain, as she is still friends with her roommates today. Rebecca’s all-time favorite event is Homecoming Weekend. She has many memories and enjoys the several different activities that take place during the weekend.
Being a biology student, Rebecca’s core courses gave her a solid foundation to succeed in her career. Some of the most profound educational experiences, though, were from the philosophy and theology courses she took. Rebecca often finds herself reminiscing of quotes from her professors and applies them to her work daily. She says “I can't tell you how many times I've referenced the John Donne quotation regarding "No man is an island...." or Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics regarding conscious choices and moral virtues.” She adds that “the liberal education I received is truly priceless, particularly in today’s society. Every course I undertook at Gannon imbued me with knowledge that I may not have realized I would use, but which has helped to shape and mold me into the person I am today.”
Rebecca is employed with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) as a Cancer Research Fellow. She conducts research on how the microbiome impacts host immune responses in a murine model of chronic inflammation. Her previous experience, developing and testing novel vaccines to protect against viruses that cause encephalitis, gives her the knowledge and background for the research she will be conducting at the NCI. Rebecca is published, recently completed her Ph.D., and is also a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society, which is the world's largest collegiate honor society. Rebecca currently serves as the Vice President on the Gannon University National Alumni Board.
While Rebecca admits she tends to work quite a bit, she also enjoys spending quality time with her family. Her husband, Jeffrey, is a commercial pilot and her daughter, Aislinn, attended the University of Maryland College Park studying studio art and neurobiology. They have many fur children also, including three cats and a St. Bernard. In her free time, Rebecca loves to cook, read, hike, and recently taught herself how to knit.
“Don't be afraid to try new things as great lessons are learned from trying and, at times, failing. It's important to persevere; if you have a goal or a dream, keep working towards it until you have achieved it. Never give up!” –Rebecca Erwin-Cohen
(published March 2017)