Science, Writing and Faith: Senior Explores Passions at CUA
Alexa Doncsecz, a senior biology major with a minor in psychology, always wanted to be a writer.
“When I was five, I used to write little stories. I’ve been interested in writing for as long as I can remember.”
Her interests stretch even further. Beyond the worlds of words and science, she is also passionate about her faith. While at Catholic University, she has grown in ways she hopes to take with her into the future.
“College is such a cool opportunity. You have the resources at college to develop your passions,” she said. “You find yourself and you create yourself. You pave the road as you’re walking it.”
Doncsecz’s interest in science began in high school. While at CUA, she has had the chance to work for three years as a research assistant to Michael Mullins, professor of biology, on properties of human cells and disease. But one of the most valuable opportunities Catholic University has offered her is the chance to develop her faith, she said.
This year, she is serving as president of the campus’ chastity outreach organization, Live out Love. The group meets weekly for discussion and formation and travels off campus several times a semester to give talks on chastity to local high schools and youth groups.
“It sets a good example to have people on campus who are living that lifestyle and are happy and think it’s a beautiful thing,” she said.
Doncsecz says speaking to students is one of the most rewarding aspects of her work.
“You can see in their faces just how receptive they are to that message. That they want to be told what it is we’re telling them,” she said.
Sophomore physics major James Glasgow of Olney, Md., who is the vice president of Live out Love, said that Alexa’s leadership brings energy to the team.
“Alexa's attitude towards Live Out Love is nothing but enthusiasm. She is continually thinking up ideas to bring to our formation meetings,” Glasgow said. “Two things make Alexa a great president. First is her ability to practice what she preaches. And second, her ability to be organized and productive.”
During her time at CUA, Doncsecz has combined her love of writing with her knowledge of science. In her sophomore year, she founded a new publication as the editorial officer of the campus group Students for Life.
The Choice is a biannual magazine featuring student essays and articles. Each issue treats a particular contemporary topic related to morality and bioethics.
“Having a science background has been really helpful,” she said. “We need more people that have a science background in the pro-life movement because they can give the facts behind the argument.”
Currently she is working on her senior comprehensive research project in the area of microbiology, under the supervision of Venigalla Rao, professor and chairman in the Department of Biology, who has received a number of research grants, most recently one to research the development of an HIV vaccine.
“It’s great to get to work with someone who’s really making improvements in the science world, who’s doing something really visible,” Doncsecz said.
In the future, she hopes her work allows her to combine her passions, as she has during her time at CUA, she said.
“I would really like to work for a publication that combines science and writing,” she said. “My faith will be with me whatever I end up doing. It’ll be an inevitable combination.”