Coronavirus Update: Washington College responds to coronavirus outbreak. More Info


Marissa Babnew

Class of 2010
Major/Minor: Psychology, Pre-Med

Early in her undergraduate career, Marissa Babnew ‘10 discovered her passion. With her first tour of the labs in the psychology department, she says, she “fell in love with neuroscience.” Her coursework and lab experiences helped her secure a job right after college with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense.

As a freshman, Marissa assisted a senior psychology major with her thesis, which helped her learn to use all the equipment and technology available at the College.

The field of neuroscience resonated for Marissa on a personal level. Her grandmother suffered from Alzheimer’s. Her senior thesis focused on the potential link between traumatic brain injury and the onset of Alzheimer’s, and the effectiveness of using progesterone as a treatment.

To explore the potential links and treatment options, Marissa used a special device to simulate the effects of traumatic injury to rats’ brains. She then put the rats through several tests and analyzed the effects on their brain tissue, noting differences in rats of different ages and progesterone levels.

She believes similar studies will lead to more effective treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

“There are about 91 drugs in clinical trials, so that’s really promising,” Marissa said. “There are a lot of advances being made and that’s why it’s so interesting to be in the field at this time.”

Campus Involvement

Q & A

Hometown and high school? West Deptford, NJ; West Deptford High School

Favorite class? My favorite class was NRM: Traumatic Brain Injury because it was really interesting and brought up a lot of current controversial topics in psychology and scientific research.

Recommended professor? Dr. Kerchner.

Most memorable experience as a first-year student? Going to my first Birthday Ball.

If you could be a condiment, which one would you be and why? Salsa, because I like to spice things up.

If you had a superpower, what would it be and why? I would want to be able to be at two places at once. That would be awesome because I could do all the clubs, sports, fun stuff that I never seem to have time for, but also get all my work done for my classes and catch up on sleep.