As a member of the first group of Coe students to visit the Associated College of the Midwest (ACM) Boundary Waters Field Station in 1962, Dr. Donna Farley '65 is well aware of the many opportunities Coe offers to undergraduates. It is in terms of these advantages that Farley remembers her time at Coe. "I found it to be an incredibly good opportunity for me." Specifically, Farley studied spiders at the field station. Speaking of her early research, she says simply, "It was an amazing experience."
In addition to her research at the field station, Farley was a member of the Chi Omega sorority and several other clubs while on campus. Further, she took the opportunity to spend six months studying off-campus in Costa Rica during her senior year. She completed a major in biology at Coe. Specifically, Farley was impressed by the professors at Coe, especially liking the personal aspect of the relationship between students and professors that permeated her years at Coe. Farley looks back and sees Coe as being both a great opportunity for her and a springboard for the rest of her life.
Although, in Farley's words, "At the time I graduated from college, young women didn't have a lot of career opportunities." Farley has made a career out of health policy research that started soon after she left Coe. When Farley settled down to start a family in the Chicago area, she was drawn to volunteer on the local public health board. Continued interest in the subject led her to attend graduate school at the University of Illinois for a degree in public health, and later, to a PhD in Public Policy Analysis from the RAND Graduate School. With years of experience in executive health care management and health policy research, Dr. Farley is currently a senior health policy analyst with the RAND Corporation. She considers her work a natural extension of her biology major at Coe, and would like to see others take advantage of the opportunities Coe offers.
Speaking of Coe, Farley says, "Coe, as a small school, has committed to providing the best undergraduate experience possible. Although it has less access to the large pools of research funding than some larger schools, Coe even offers many opportunities for students to do real research that they otherwise wouldn't be able to do until graduate school. Coe is doing many great things. For students to come out of any school with a quality education, that school has to be supported."