Student Snapshot: Prerana Patil '24

Prerana Patil '24

Prerana Patil '24 is a standout student who's earned two Dickinson awards during her first two years on campus. She's also worked on two student-faculty research projects so far and has recently embarked on her own original research. Below, Prerana discusses the professors and staff members who've offered support and advice, her favorite learning experience at Dickinson so far, and more. She also gives her best advice to younger students about how to zero in on work you truly love.


Aurora, Ontario, Canada.


Environmental science and chemistry.


Delta Nu, WDCV-FM, ALLARM, Norman M. Eberly Writing Center and Alpha Lambda Delta.


First-Year Seminar Excellence In Writing Award, Shuman Award for First-Year Excellence, Presidential Scholar and Dean's List.

Favorite book:

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Best thing about my Dickinson experience:

The best thing about my experience so far are the people I have met and connected with (professors and students alike). I'm so grateful for the support system and community that I've gained here.

Favorite place on campus:

The WDCV room in the HUB.

Favorite campus food:

The veggie protein nuggets in the Caf!

Favorite class/learning experience so far:

The retreat at the College Farm. It was so peaceful, intentional and captivating. There were educational sessions in the morning that were grounded in Buddhist philosophy and then hands-on sessions in the afternoon on using nature to make art or medicine/cosmetics. It was really grounding, and it was a wonderful way to learn with people I do not usually interact with in classes or day-to-day life.

Favorite professors:
I have had so many amazing professors here; it's hard to choose. But I am super grateful for Assistant Professor of Philosophy/ Ethics Program Director Amy McKiernan, Professor of Educational Studies/Writing Program Director Noreen Lape, Associate Professor of Chemistry Sarah St. Angelo and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies Kristin Strock. They have all been such wonderful mentors. 

Favorite off-campus spot:

I really like the used bookstore on Pomfret Street (it's just super cozy).

As a kid, I wanted to be …

everything. I thought I could just switch off jobs on different days of the week. Highlights include rock star, art teacher and writer.

About my research:

I've done two research projects at Dickinson. In summer 2021 I was a research assistant with the biogas project at the College Farm. The topic of the project was the creation of biogas (obviously), which is created by the breakdown of food and cow manure. I helped develop standard operating procedures in the chem lab and aided College Farm Special Projects Manager Matt Steiman, the lead researcher, in the field with both biogas and compost trials. The focus of that summer was developing those operating procedures and establishing the foundational work before the farm sets up its large-scale digestor next year.

The second project is the work I did this summer with Professor Strock, regarding algal blooms in local PA lakes. I had a little more research experience under my belt and on top of assisting Professor Strock with an algal bloom project, I was given the opportunity to conduct my own research. I learned a lot this summer with aquatic testing and sampling, and I can't wait to take it further!

Best advice:

Try everything—but learn to listen to your gut, and stick with the things that energize you.

Read more Student Snapshots.



Published October 21, 2022