February 16, 2017

Something small can sometimes have a very big impact. For Kaity Ronning ’15, that something was about as small as it gets—a cell.

“I love studying how cells communicate with one another, especially in the visual system,” explains the California native.

“I started participating in extracurricular biology and ecology programs in elementary school, and I ultimately became fascinated with genomics, cells and how so many fantastically small and delicate mechanisms combine to create us,” she adds.

She is now studying the interplay of retinal function and neuroinflammation in health and disease in the neuroscience graduate program at the University of California, Davis. There, she works in the lab of Susquehanna alumna Marie Burns ’92, a professor of ophthalmology and vision science who Ronning interned with twice as an undergraduate.

Neuroscience wasn’t a major yet when Ronning attended Susquehanna, but she says her major in biology prepared her well to study neuroscience.

“I had some of the best professors imaginable, who taught me a wide range of topics in my courses and took the time to personally invest in my education outside of the classroom,” says Ronning, who hopes to become a professor herself.

Ronning also majored in music at Susquehanna and took full advantage of learning opportunities outside the classroom—researching, serving as an Orientation Team Leader and member of the Welcome Week Planning Committee, joining the Sigma Alpha Iota music sorority, attending LeaderShape and more.

“It’s no exaggeration to say that these experiences shape my life every day, from utilizing skills I learned to the love of giving back that was instilled in me,” she says.