Student sitting outside on-campus with flowers in the background
Class of 2019
"I really loved Caz since the first moment I stepped on campus!"
Amber Gates heard about Cazenovia College from her high school guidance counselor. It was the perfect fit-small and family oriented. She says, "I really loved Caz since the first moment I stepped on campus! I felt most comfortable here and never like a number. Caz College becomes your home very quickly."

Gates was the valedictorian of her high-school class at Poland Central School in Poland, NY. This academic standing allowed her to receive the Presidential Scholarship, making Cazenovia College an affordable choice.

As a freshman, Gates decided to take on a dual major in studio art and biology. She wanted to combine two of her passions and expand her knowledge in fields that interested her. Gates comments, "I realized early on that I wanted to work with animals full time when I grew up, so biology was the best route to get me there."

Gates reminisced about her love for animals as a child and how she always felt that her life would lead her to work with them. Her mother believed that Gates would be a veterinarian, and that vision is not too far off.

As she finishes up her senior year, Gates is researching options to pursue a master's degree upon graduation in May. Her dream job would be to work for a humane society, a rehabilitation center, or a conservation center.

"My animal behavior and honors culture courses were by far my favorite. I thought it was fascinating to study why animals behave the way they do, as well as the connection of cultures and animals," shares Gates. "In the field of study that I want to go into, I have to make a bridge between people and animals."

Gates also talks about the faculty and how they have prepared her for her future career goals. "Dr. Emily Flynn and Dr. Barb Hager have been instrumental to my success as a student. They hit you with the most rigorous courses and prepare you for graduate school."

One of Gates' favorite projects during her time at Cazenovia College was an individual study she did as a freshman in her Cell Biology and Molecular course. She chose to do a research project on a bacterial disease that her sister's rabbit had contracted. The study looked at what treatment was better, penicillin or home remedies.

Beyond the classroom, Gates is actively involved on campus. She is the vice-president of the Active Minds club, a new student-run club that focuses on mental health awareness. She also is a Student Life Assistant, and a member of Sigma Alpha Pi and Alpha Chi.

"Being involved in these organizations has definitely pushed me to be more social and I am now a much more outgoing person than I was as a freshman," says Gates. "The resident advisor role has pushed me to figure out my leadership style. It has helped me to become a leader in more ways than I could imagine, and that is beneficial for the rest of my life."

Gates shares that her Caz Experience has provided her with a second home. Her experiences at Cazenovia College have connected her to so many individuals in and outside of the classroom, making lifelong friendships, professional relationships with faculty and staff, as well as networking opportunities in the field.

Gates adds, "I would like to encourage future students to be open minded and willing to change based on their experiences here. Everyone tells you in high school that you are going to change so much in college, and you do not believe it until it happens. So I would just advise you to be open to those changes, because it is making you a better person."