Mary Niederlehner of Roanoke, Virginia, graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in December 2011. Currently, Ms. Niederlehner volunteers with VCU’s biopsychology laboratory, where she has worked as a laboratory research assistant since 2010. Mary Niederlehner has a substantial background in volunteering: in the past, she has helped out at American Red Cross blood drives; tutored her peers in Spanish while attending Hidden Valley High School; and participated in community work with the VCU chapter of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, for which she currently serves as Treasurer.

Mary Niederlehner spent the summer before her first year in college participating in the Pre-Medical Academic and Career Exploration Series (PACES) program at the University of South Carolina. The opportunity allowed her to volunteer with a certified physician and learn about operating a busy practice. Ms. Niederlehner went on to study at the University of South Carolina for a year, followed by a year at Virginia Western Community College. At both institutions, she earned academic honors. In the fall of 2009, Ms. Niederlehner enrolled in VCU, where she made the dean’s list for three semesters and graduated with a 3.9 GPA in her major.

While attending VCU, Mary Niederlehner balanced her studies with work and career training. She participated in a job shadowing program at Roanoke Memorial Hospital, where she assisted anesthesiologists and surgeons. In addition, Ms. Niederlehner presented her studies on antipsychotic drugs, conducted in the VCU biopsychology department, at the Virginia Academy of Science’s 2011 Undergraduate Research Symposium. Working around her busy schedule, Mary Niederlehner also found time to nanny for a Roanoke family.