Tessa McDonald ’26 is excited to officially begin her time as a Charger this fall, and she is looking forward to exploring and bringing together her interests in forensic science and protecting wildlife.
June 6, 2022
Tessa McDonald ’26 has loved animals since she was a kid. She has dreamed of conducting research that would benefit wildlife. As a sophomore in high school, she took a forensic science course that also piqued her interest, and she wanted to find a way to bring her two passions together.
Eager to incorporate her love of wildlife as she studies forensic science, she looks forward to bringing her interests together at the University of New Haven, and, eventually, during her career. An incoming forensic science major in the University’s Class of 2026, she is excited to begin her time as a Charger this fall.
“The University of New Haven has one of the only wildlife labs/research facilities in the United States, which is amazing,” said McDonald, who hails from New Jersey. “Overall, I felt like I belonged, and I never got that from any other colleges I visited. I am very happy with my decision, and, for me, there was never a decision as soon as I was accepted.”
‘My first impression was, wow!’
As a high school sophomore, McDonald visited the University as part of an Open House, touring the campus and meeting other members of the University community. It was the first school she visited, and she could immediately envision herself as a Charger.
“I had no idea I would love the environment and the people so much,” she said. “I felt such a welcoming presence. After that day, I decided to research the University of New Haven, and when I found out how great the program really was, that was a deciding factor, too.”
McDonald, who was adopted from Panama and who came to the United States when she was about two years old, had the opportunity to visit the University approximately a month before the outset of the pandemic. She says getting to experience the University in-person helped her to feel connected to the University community.
“My first impression was, wow!” she said. “I thought this place fit my lifestyle, and I really liked it. The staff and faculty were so kind and made me feel less nervous about walking around. They also were so helpful in answering the questions my mom and I had.”
‘Grow into a great scientist’
Passionate about animals, McDonald has been an active member of 4-H, a nationwide youth development program, since she was in the second grade, and she is part of a small animal and dog club. She also shows rabbits and a dog in competitions. McDonald, who volunteers at an animal shelter, has also been volunteering at a local wildlife refuge for about three years.
Planning to join the University’s Forensic Science Club, McDonald also looks forward to being a part of the University’s Enhanced Learning Community for forensic science and continuing to volunteer. She is excited to make new friends, to learn more about the University through this summer’s Student Orientation, Advising, and Registration (SOAR) program, and to explore the other many opportunities the University has to offer.
“I love that the students I met at the University were very open and kind,” she said. “The forensic science professors were very interesting. They could be serious about learning but they also were able to bring funny jokes into the conversation. I can't wait to learn from them and to grow into a great scientist.”