Putting STEM to Work: Follow Your Path – Everyone Ends Up Where They Need To Be  

Through the generous support of Regeneron, four times a year River Journalpublishes the on-site report of a high school science student from the River Towns who is paired with a Regeneron scientist to experience what it is like to put STEM education to work in the real world.    

Lucy Monness is a junior at Irvington High School who participates in the science research program. For the past two years, Monness has been researching how consistent practice in mindfulness meditation impacts the stress levels of high school students. She has been an avid learner in the STEM community, hoping to major in biochemistry in college, and continue her career in science.

At Irvington High School, I was offered the opportunity of a lifetime by my science research teachers – the opportunity to interview a Regeron genetics scientist. My love and curiosity in STEM has made this opportunity one of the best experiences in my time as a science research student, encouraging me to branch outside of my high school community and meet real researchers in my field. When matched with scientist Marine Prissette at the Tarrytown Regeneron location, I couldn’t help but wonder how she ended up here. 

Growing up, Marine didn’t always have a plan to practice research; she assumed she would end up in political sciences or international studies. She attended university in Paris where the only true science major was in biology. Her passion for science sparked in her college science classes, and she became determined to find a cure for cancer. From there, she never looked back. University students in France did not have many opportunities at the time, though through countless internships in college, Marine gained hospital and lab experience studying liver disease and researching cancer. It wasn’t until she discovered that one of her mother’s friends was the head of a research lab that she was finally able to make her science dreams become reality. She was eventually able to obtain her PhD in epigenetics as well as a master’s degree through these opportunities.  

As a young, inexperienced student, she had no idea her life would become so oriented around STEM. She worked tirelessly in the lab studying X chromosome inactivation; a groundbreaking research project at the time. After numerous internships, Marine discovered her love for genetics, and ever since her PhD, has found a passion for forward genetics. Forward genetics is based around identifying the genes responsible for a specific phenotype. Marine has recently discovered new information in genes initiating tau disease, and also explored her interests in Alzheimer’s. She loves her work environment at Regeneron, as she believes she studies among some of the best scientists and people in the world. 

Marine’s success story was something she never imagined as a young girl; her college born passion for science completely changed the course of her life. What she wants the world to take away from her inspiring career is to never be afraid to reinvent yourself. She encourages young scientists to stay curious and to believe in themselves, because without her curiosity she would have never gotten to where she is today. Marine explains that everyone has a different path in life, and that our journey is still unfolding; we will all end up where we need to be.  

As a high school junior with college slowly approaching, Marine’s wisdom truly inspired me. The competitive nature surrounding college and the stress of the impending future weighs heavy on many teenagers’ shoulders. Marine assures students that it’s OK not to have everything figured out, and that anything is possible if you believe in yourself. She reiterates that change is not a bad thing, and the uncertainties of life require time and patience to be figured out.  



  1. Kudos to the Irvington School and Regeneron for initiating this outstanding program for high school students! What a wonderful opportunity for those interested in the STEM subjects.

    Lucy and Marine’s collaboration is inspirational to so many with interests across a broad spectrum of topics, not just the Sciences and Mathematics. I’m thrilled that my granddaughter has been given exposure to such a deeply enriching experience.

  2. I learned something and also was amazed at the interest and expertise of our young people about a subject that hardly existed in my time at their age. The article was so well written and informative but actually also provided easy understanding of a complicated science. Thank you for having given me this insight.

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About the Author: Lucy Monness