Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

Alan Leshner, Ph.D., '65

Psychology

I became a behavioral scientist as a direct result of research experiences I had as an undergraduate at F&M. The atmosphere was tremendously supportive of science generally, and I got a superb grounding in biology and chemistry. I was intending to go to medical school, but then met Dr. Charles Stewart, who was not only an active researcher but clearly committed to bring young people into the field. After a course or two, I did an honors project in his lab, with flatworms (planaria), and fell in love with the intersection of hormones and behavior (there was no particular personal issue I was dealing with).

I went on to graduate school at Rutgers but then, instead of staying in a research intensive university, I took my first job at Bucknell, where I, like Chuck Stewart, could combine interests in doing research, teaching about our field, and mentoring undergraduates, many of whom went on to scientific careers. Then after 10 years at Bucknell, I moved to Washington and the National Science Foundation, and then on to NIH and AAAS. Clearly, F&M set me on my career course, and my early training has paid off tremendously well for me.

  • Alumni Profile: Alan Leshner, Ph.D., '65