Quick Facts

Name: Elizabeth Avegno

Class of: 2011

Hometown: New Orleans, LA

Current Occupation: Graduate Student, Columbia University

Words of Wisdom: Apply for any scholarship, fellowship, or position you can.

Elizabeth M. Avegno, Class of 2011Avegno, Elizabeth M

Graduate student

Columbia University, Department of Pharmacology

Tell us about yourself. How did you come to Tulane?
I am from New Orleans, and I knew I wanted to stay in the city
for college. I received the Mayoral Scholarship, a four-year, full
scholarship to Tulane. The decision was easy!


Bachelor of Science, Biological Chemistry                 2011
Tulane University, New Orleans, LA

PhD in Pharmacology and Molecular Signaling        anticipated
Columbia University, New York City, NY

Present Day

What do you do?
I am currently pursuing a PHD in Pharmacology and Molecular Signaling at Columbia University. I am in a lab researching the effects of ethanol on the brain. We have a model of adolescent binge drinking behavior, which produces escalated voluntary alcohol consumption in adolescent mice. Our goal is to understand long-term adaptations in neurotransmitter systems that result from chronic ethanol exposure during adolescence.

What of some pros of your current position or role?
Getting paid to get your PHD! I am furthering my education and receiving a stipend (not much, but enough to live on). It is an excellent opportunity to learn more about a fascinating field.

What are some of the cons?
Not surprisingly, grad school can be stressful at times.

Undergraduate Experience

What insights did you have during your college years?
During my time at Tulane, I became more confident in my ability to think independently and excel in a research environment. I joined a lab after my second year; this not only complemented the education I was receiving in my classes, but also taught me how to approach novel problems, how to function cooperatively in a research atmosphere, and how enjoyable working in a lab can be!

What academic advice would you offer in coming first-year students?
Take advantage of the opportunities you have to gain experience outside of the classroom. These opportunities could include volunteering, internships, or, in my case, joining a lab. This not only allows you to get a better understanding of your field of interest, but it also gives you a chance to get to know your professors (and them a chance to get to know you).

Any additional recommendations?
1.    Take advantage of every opportunity to get experience outside of the classroom.
2.    Take classes outside of your major.
3.    Get to know your professors – go to office hours, work in a lab, and so forth. You'll be glad you did when you need recommendations!
4.    Apply for any scholarship, fellowship, or position you can.
5.    Don't blow things off – make the most of your opportunities as an undergrad!

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000