From Africa, to Elms, to a Doctorate
Darlington Abanulo '06 came to Elms College as an international student after graduating from St. Joseph Central Catholic High School in Pittsfield. His family, who still lives in Ivory Coast, West Africa, sent Darlington to the United States to follow in his older brother's footsteps.
"I thank God to have parents who valued education; my dad was prepared to do what it took to make sure we got the very best, including sending us to the United States," he said. "The tightly knit Elms community fostered a learning environment that was personalized to the student. This enabled me to do scientific research in the laboratory of Dr. Drake. This research experience was the seed for the passion I gained for research. Working so closely with Dr. Drake equipped me with skills that are not necessarily taught in the classroom."
Darlington thrived here at Elms College. He played soccer and volleyball; tutored his peers in chemistry, math, and French; became a residence advisor; and served on the campus ministry service board. He graduated summa cum laude and was accepted into the competitive polymer science doctoral program at University of Connecticut. As a doctoral student, he worked in the laboratory studying the properties of carbon nanotubes. He earned a Ph.D. in July 2012 for his contributions to the field of nanoscience and nanotechnology.
The next chapter takes Darlington to Portland, Oregon, where he will join Intel as a senior engineer.
"Anything is possible, certainly becoming a full professor was the plan when I set out for my doctorate six years ago," Darlington said about the possibility of returning to academia.
His advice to Elms students with a passion for the sciences: "I urge them to not limit themselves to chasing good grades. Anyone can earn A's by memorizing the material. However, a great scientist is called to go a step further to internalize these concepts learned in the classroom and crystallize them in active research in the labs. A misconception I often encounter mentoring undergraduate students expressing desire in graduate research is that they often wait until their senior years to do research, and to that I say: 'The earlier, the better.'"