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Julie Jones Shilane’s Moravian College experience started her on a path that has allowed her to contribute to a project that has made a major impact on the lives of many cancer patients. She credits the research work that she did at Moravian as preparing her for the work to be done later in graduate school. In the college community, she also built relationships that she still cherishes to this day.
Shilane states that her initial attraction to Moravian College had to do with the community atmosphere on campus. She got to meet people on her campus visit and realized that Moravian is a “small, close knit community where you really get to know the faculty and fellow students.”
Shilane, who double majored in chemistry and math, became an integral part of the Moravian community throughout her years there. She was president of the American Chemical Society student affiliate group, the Math Society, and Pi Mu Epsilon, the math honors society. She was also involved in 26 Points, the Student Alumni Association, was treasurer of Omicron Delta Kappa, and served as a student advisor for a freshman class in the Learning in Common program. She remains involved as an alumnus.
Even after graduation, Shilane continues her close association with Moravian as a member of the Moravian Leadership Council, which advises the Board of Trustees and emphasizes fundraising, career development and leadership.
Shilane has found her experiences with undergraduate research to be the most helpful aspect of her involvement at Moravian. Shilane completed an honors project, Theoretical Investigation of the Ene Mechanism in Nicotinamide Hydrogen Transfer, completed several SOAR (Student Opportunities for Academic Research) projects, and did additional independent research. When expressing how important her research at Moravian was in preparation for earning her Ph.D. at Princeton University, she says, “All of the key parts of grad school I had already done at Moravian.” She emphasizes that her research at Moravian, most importantly her honors project, taught her the skills she used when conducting her Ph.D. research and when writing and defending her Ph.D. dissertation.
Shilane entered graduate school at Princeton intending to focus on biophysical chemistry, but soon discovered her passion for biochemistry, in particular. She felt that biochemistry had practical applications that could help people more directly than physical chemistry. She focused her work in graduate school on cancer research.
After graduating from Princeton, she began her career with Light Management Consulting, which does consulting work for the pharmaceutical industry. After several months on the job, she played an integral role in helping her colleagues start a second company, Light Knowledge Resources, which has a more direct impact on patients. The company is a collection of reliable patient-oriented websites that focus on helping and informing cancer patients. Each of these websites provides patients with information about the latest treatment options for cancer and creates a community through which these cancer patients can reach out and support one another by sharing their experiences.
In four years, Light Knowledge Resources has grown, and now serves thousands of cancer patients. Shilane says, “Our work is really appreciated by these people who need help.”
Shilane looks back positively on her Moravian experience. “College years: everyone says they’re the best, and they really are. I made a lot of friends and got really involved on campus. There’s a lot more than just academics to your college experience,” she says.
Shilane met her husband Philip during graduate school at Princeton, but their first date was an alumni Mardi Gras dance at Moravian. The couple married in 2006, while both were graduate students at Princeton, and they welcomed their daughter, Sarah, on October 11, 2011.
"All of the key parts of grad school I had already done at Moravian."