Institute for Broadening Participation: Building Partnerships to Support Diversity in STEM
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Verleen McSween

Midwest Crossroads AGEP
Indiana University, Bloomington

In her own lab in the IU School of Optometry, Indiana University Bloomington Graduate Student, Verleen McSween researches how people literally see the world around them.

Now in her second year at IU working toward her PhD in Vision Science, McSween tests new procedures on live rats in hopes of contributing improved and complementary treatments for Glaucoma. Her mentor and principal investigator is Dr. Suresh Viswanathan, whom she chose due to his specific research area, as well as his personable nature, knowledge, experience, and organized work ethic, she said. Dr. Viswanathan’s research is focused on the development of techniques for non-invasive assessment of retinal ganglion cell function.

McSween’s research area explores how elevated pressure in the eye can affect the retina. She would like to continue doing research in the future, in both areas of academia and industry, she said. “I love to learn, but I love to share what I have learned even more.”

McSween was raised in the Virgin Islands, where she obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from University of the Virgin Islands, with a major in Biology. She is a first-generation college student, and is she chose IU after visiting the campus as a participant of AGEP’s Getting You Into IU in February of 2008. “I fell in love with the campus and atmosphere. The students here seemed productive, and I liked the classroom environment. I knew I could be successful here,” McSween said.

Outside of the lab and classroom, McSween is also a member of the Midwest Crossroads AGEP; she is an involved community member, and a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. She spends time volunteering with the Adventist Students for Christ doing service projects, including feeding meals to the homeless and fundraisers. Most recently, she worked with a group raising money for the Haiti relief efforts.

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