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Uncommon Bonds

Dr. Consuelo Alvarez & Maddie Stevens Humerick ’09

In her first semester at Longwood, biology major Madison "Maddie" Stevens ’09 began a health-related research project that became her senior honors thesis. The project was directed by Dr. Consuelo Alvarez, associate professor of biology, who became not only her mentor but also her friend.

Alvarez and Stevens—now Maddie Humerick, a third-year medical student at West Virginia University—traveled together to the National Conference on Undergraduate Research in San Rafael, Calif., and to two Virginia Academy of Science conferences where Humerick presented her research ("Gene Expression of Saccharomyces cerevisiae Exposed to Commercial Wood Preservatives by DNA Microarray Analysis and RT-PCR"). Alvarez also attended all of Humerick’s home soccer games (she was the team captain), and Alvarez and her family attended Humerick’s wedding in June 2011. They still keep in touch.

"We clicked from the start," said Alvarez, a native of Ecuador. "We have a lot in common—we both like medical topics and soccer, and we both like to eat! Whenever people think of Maddie, they think of me, which I don’t mind."

After graduating summa cum laude from Longwood, Humerick, one of the first Cormier Citizen Scholars in what is now the Cormier Honors College, did a 15-month stint as a lab researcher—she was a post-baccalaureate IRTA Fellow at NIH in Bethesda, Md.—before entering medical school.

"Dr. Alvarez was my mentor all four years, and, as time went on, we just became really good friends," said Humerick, who is doing clinical rotations this semester at two hospitals in Martinsburg, W.Va. and one hospital in Charles Town, W.Va., her hometown. Humerick, who lives in Purcellville, will graduate in May 2014 and specialize in family medicine.

Learn more about Cormier Honors College