Massachusetts Student First to Complete Ph.D. in Joint UNH, University of Verona Program

 Anthula VandorosWith 4,022 miles between her labs, Anthula Vandoros worked on two continents to become the first student to earn a Ph.D. in a joint program offered by the University of New Haven and the University of Verona, Italy.

“I had mentors both in New Haven and in Verona.” says Vandoros, a Brimfield, Mass., resident who labeled her pursuit of a doctorate in forensic legal medicine “quite an excellent experience.”

Vandoros will receive her degree from Verona in the fall, the typical graduation time for Italian universities, although she did much of the work towards the degree at the University of New Haven.

“There was a real collaborative use of space and ideas with professors at both universities guiding me on my work,” she says.

At UNH, her mentor was Tim Palmbach, professor and head of forensics. “Anthula led the way as the very first student to complete the international degree program with the University of Verona,” he said. “Going first is never easy. We are so pleased that our collaborations with Verona have expanded to this level of success and prestige.”

Using Skype, e-mail, and the visits back and forth, Vandoros says she was able to keep in touch on both continents. She had no language difficulty during the five months total she spent in Italy.

“English is the language of science,” she says. “I speak only a very little Italian and when I went to Italy, I found that all the professors and students wanted to practice English.”

Vandoros earned her bachelor’s degree in microbiology from the University of Massachusetts, and a master’s in criminalistics from UNH in 2010. As part of her master’s degree study, she participated in an internship in Verona.

“I really enjoyed it and as a result, I decided to apply for the Ph.D. program,” she said.

Her future plans include finding a job in a lab to increase her work experience. But ultimately, Vandoros says, she would like to teach at a university.

The University of New Haven is a private, top-tier comprehensive institution recognized as a national leader in experiential education. Founded in 1920 the university enrolls approximately 1,800 graduate students and more than 4,600 undergraduates.