Vanessa M. Naimoli ’01, ’04G

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After a decade of success as a research scientist in the pharmaceuticals industry, Vanessa M. Naimoli ’01C, ’04G left the laboratory for a more personal role in health care. She was working on a project with a noted oncologist at the University of Chicago Medical Center when she decided to become a nurse.

“It was my first professional experience in a hospital setting,” said Ms. Naimoli, who learned about research through undergraduate and graduate study at St. John’s University. “Working directly with patients, seeing the world through their eyes, appealed to me greatly.”

Ms. Naimoli went on to earn her M.S. in Nursing from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Today, she assists patients as a nurse in the Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program at Mount Sinai Beth Israel Hospital, NY. She also serves on the hospital’s Mobile Crisis Team. Traveling around Lower Manhattan, she visits patients at home and in shelters to monitor their condition and refer them to services.

Her first day on the job convinced Ms. Naimoli that she made the right choice. “We were visiting a client,” she recalled. “We got off the bus at a small side street, and I noticed that the street was named for Lillian Wald, the godmother of community nursing. I thought, maybe this is a message.”

St. John’s, said Ms. Naimoli, prepared her well for a career in research. Majoring in Psychology and Elementary Education at the Staten Island campus, she co-presented research at the 2001 Eastern Psychological Association Conference. Later, while pursuing her M.A. in Psychology, Ms. Naimoli conducted research on acetylcholine’s role as a neurotransmitter under former faculty member Alice Powers, Ph.D.

But the University provided much more than a foundation in research, said Ms. Naimoli. “No matter what our major,” she said, “we learned to view the world through the lens of the liberal arts and the Vincentian Mission. It’s ideal for health providers, who need to be empathetic to patients and advocate for them, too.”