This week’s Featured Friar is Gracie Cleaver. Originally from Verona, NJ, Cleaver is a senior biology major with a Spanish minor on the Neuroscience Certificate track. In her three years attending PC, Cleaver has proven herself to be a committed and passionate member of the PC community.
When making her college decision, Cleaver avoided PC at first, as both of her parents are alumni. “I grew up to the sound of PC basketball on the TV,” Cleaver says. “I thought I wanted to forge my own path.” But after attending Admitted Students Day in the spring of her senior year of high school, Cleaver says she fell in love with the community and the passion everyone expressed for the school. She says, “I knew I wanted to go to a school that felt like home, and Providence felt like home.”
Upon enrolling as a freshman, Cleaver knew she wanted to major in science, but she also wanted to take advantage of the freedom the college’s curriculum provides to explore other options. After her first semester, she committed to a biology major. She also added a Spanish minor: “I decided to minor in Spanish in the hopes that I can become fluent and studying abroad in Barcelona during the fall of my junior year helped me get closer to achieving this goal.”
Reflecting on her academic experience, Cleaver looks fondly on all the classes she has taken, but particularly, she loved her Human Neuropsychology class with Dr. Guilmette. The analytical and clinical aspects of the course lent themselves to a style of in-depth learning about the inner workings of the human brain, which were very appealing to Cleaver.
In addition to her studies, Cleaver has applied her science background by working for a research lab at the Brown-Miriam Hospital in downtown Providence. This past summer and continuing into the fall as an on-call intern, she studies how the mood and behavior of mothers throughout pregnancy impacts the health of their baby. One day a week and one weekend a month, Cleaver must carry around a pager and be ready to go to the hospital if one of the participants in the study gives birth.
Cleaver says she loves the internship because it combines her interests in biology and psychology. Additionally, her boss is a Providence College alumnus, which Gracie says has made the experience even more rewarding.
While working as an on-call intern, Cleaver is also a fully involved student on campus. She is a member of the women’s club lacrosse team, which traveled to the National Championship tournament in Texas last year, a member of Friars Club, and the coordinator of the pre-orientation program Urban Action. “Being a part of all three of these clubs completely altered my college experience for the better,” Cleaver says. “Being an Urban Action coordinator this year has allowed me to give back and make an impact on the PC community.”
Additionally, after making Friars Club sophomore year, she says she couldn’t imagine her college experience without it. She enjoys giving tours, sharing her love for PC with potential students, and she also expressed her immense appreciation for the extended family Friars Club has given her here on campus.
After graduation in May, Cleaver hopes to take a gap year, during which she will ideally work for a BioTech company or in a clinical hospital role before eventually attending medical school or physician assistant school.
Cleaver’s biggest piece of advice to other students would be to get involved right away. “With that, you can’t do everything,” she says, “but you can do anything. So, pick what you truly want to invest your time into and dedicate yourself to it. College is the time to find what interests you, so go for it wholeheartedly.”