Cassandra Barone

Photo of Cassandra Barone
Class of 2020
Major: Bachelor of Science in Biology
Minor: Chemistry, Sociology and History

Cassandra Barone ’20 credits her interdisciplinary education at Walsh University for helping her to secure a position in the Biomedical Science Training Program at Case Western Reserve University. This prestigious program affords each student an opportunity to explore 11 different biomedical science Ph.D. programs and choose the department that best suits their interests. Barone is currently studying the effects of space on the human body. 

“During my four years at Walsh University, I was given the opportunity to enroll in the honors program to truly advance my liberal arts education,” said Barone. “Thankfully, my decision to immerse myself in all the program had to offer changed my life for the better.” 

According to Barone, her Walsh advisors were instrumental in helping her to explore career options that matched her interests. 

“My advisor, Dr. Adam Underwood, helped to bring out the scientist caged inside of me, and I will forever be grateful,” said Barone. “In the case of advancing my free thinking and bringing out the side of me that isn’t afraid to ask questions, Dr. Rachel Constance drove me to the content that I most desired to focus on.” 

While still contemplating an undergraduate major, Barone enrolled in an honors class titled “The History of Space, Probes, and UFOs” centered on the history of all things related to space science. Her final project consisted of conducting interviews with current engineers that worked for Lockheed Martin that were on teams developing NASA’s Project Orion. She was given the opportunity to also work with Celia Blum, a structural engineer whose main focus was the pressure that is regulated inside the cockpit. 

“For several months, I conducted research on all of the advancements women have made to our space program, dating all the way back to the 1940s. My abstract was showcased at the National Collegiate Honors Council New Orleans in November 2019,” said Barone. “I believe that my work on outer space, along with the wet lab techniques and quantitative thinking that I developed in the Walsh labs, are the reasons I ended up where I am today, in the Biomedical Science Training Program (BSTP) at Case Western Reserve University.” 

During their first semester at BSTP, students are expected to complete at least three rotations in order to find which lab they would like to join in order to pursue their degree. Barone completed all three rotations this fall and has found her home in the Center for Aerospace Physiology lab focusing on the effects of high stress environments on the body, specifically Air Force pilots. Currently, she is beginning her work to pursue a Ph.D. in Physiology and Biophysics. 

“My goal as a graduate student is to help uncover what the mechanisms are behind these physiological events leading to symptoms involving but not limited to, tingling hands and feet, headaches and brain fog. This work is pertinent in future development of human physiology in space,” said Barone. “As a graduate student, I will have the opportunity to work with our partners at NASA to help uncover the question the world has been wondering for years, ‘what happens to the body when it’s in space?’ Once I complete my doctorate, my ideal job opportunity would be to continue my role with the Air Force/NASA.” 

As she continues to pursue her career goals, Barone is also committed to helping fellow students who are also interested in a career in science. She remains in contact with her advisor Dr. Adam Underwood and is currently working with her alma mater to create experiential learning opportunities for students enrolled in Walsh’s science program. 

“Walsh University gave me the opportunity to shape my education in any direction that I wanted through the interdisciplinary architecture of the courses I was enrolled. This also enabled me to graduate on time with a major in biology and three minors in chemistry, sociology and history,” said Barone. “My journey to get where I am now consisted of a rollercoaster of emotions, but I couldn’t be happier where I ended up. I am excited to see how my future unfolds from here.”