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Pre-Med Biology Major Meaghan Coyne ’16 Is a Team Player


While much of Meaghan Coyne’s time at Stony Brook has been spent on the water, none of it has been spent treading water.

Meaghan Coyne, right, dissects a fish with classmate Emily Geiger.

Whether it was rowing with the crew team as a freshman, collecting samples from a coral reef in a study abroad program or arranging music for the popular all-female University a cappella group, the Pipettes, Meaghan ’16 has made the most of her educational opportunities on campus.

The life skills she picked up in the process, most of which center on teamwork, should benefit her as she plans for a career in healthcare.

“Utilizing sources and strategies going forward when working with a team consisting of nurses, physicians assistants and occupational therapists is critical to helping patients heal,” Meaghan said

Stony Brook crew demands that kind of teamwork.

“Rowing has so many aspects to it that translate into important life lessons outside of the boat,” said Meaghan, who served as vice president and then president for the club. “For example, unless everyone in the boat moves at the exact same time, the boat will tip and winning the race will be very difficult. If you want to make people work together, put them in a crew boat and make them row. They’ll learn to trust and rely on each other very quickly.”

Meaghan received recognition as the crew team’s president at the end of her sophomore year when she accepted the Student Life Award for Recreational Leadership.

Pre-dawn crew practice in St. James

It was while participating in a study abroad program in Jamaica in the winter of her freshman year that Meaghan took a tropical marine ecology course that involved a more intimate form of teamwork. She and her laboratory partner Tracey Vlasak snorkeled in coral reef habitats, set up and photographed underwater quadrants, collected samples and analyzed data. They presented their findings at Stony Brook’s Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities Celebration that spring.

The following semester she joined Professor Joseph Warren’s research team as an assistant in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences identifying and measuring various zooplankton, such as krill and copepods, from samples collected on research cruises to Cape Cod Bay and Antarctica.

Although the work was fascinating, Meaghan longed to pursue more medically related research, which she did as assistant on  the team of Dr. Chistine Rizk and Professor Marian Evinger, PhD, in the Department of Surgery. That clinical study sought to establish the link between smoking and a more aggressive breast cancer.

Meanwhile, Meaghan, a University Scholar, was gaining hands-on experience interacting with the family members of patients while volunteering at the Stony Brook University Heart Center.

“I answered the questions of patients’ relatives who were undergoing surgeries and procedures, and the most valuable skill I learned was assuring them that everything would be okay without giving them a false sense of hope,” she said.

Meaghan’s role as the treasurer and musical arranger of the Pipettes contrasts sharply with the serious nature of her academic studies.

Meaghan emcees the Pipette’s Pajama Party-themed invitational, spring 2015.

With a background in flute, guitar, piano and musical arrangement, Meaghan combined her expertise in music theory with an ear for what simply sounds good to help the 16-woman musical group fine-tune their varied and multi-genre repertoire. For a glimpse, visit

“It’s really cool to watch the notes on the page turn into a work of art that can make our audiences, laugh, cry and smile,” said Meaghan.

“One of my happiest moments at Stony Brook was last year at the Seawolf Showcase,” she said. “I had just had an incredible day in Southampton with my Semester by the Sea peers and then was able to come to main campus at night to see my best friends, the Pipettes, perform. I’ve never felt so much pride in Stony Brook and felt like this was truly where I belong.”

—Glenn Jochum



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