About Danielle Williams

As a child, Danielle Williams had a lot of painful orthodontic work. As unpleasant as those experiences were, they also built her resolve to excel in school, to enter a competitive college pre-med program and to become a dentist — the kind of dentist she wishes she had. 

Today, Danielle is a Biology major at Russell Sage College. (Sage’s Bio major and pre-med programs prepare students for dental school as well as medical school and similar competitive graduate programs.)

She’s also part of Sage’s Collegiate Science & Technology Entry Program.

CSTEP is a program sponsored by the New York State Department of Education that provides research experiences, prep for standardized exams like the Medical College Admission Test or Dental Admission Test, and other support to underrepresented and economically disadvantaged students in science majors or professional programs.

I appreciate how CSTEP brings together the underrepresented students,” said Danielle. “I really like the community that we have in this cohort.”

CSTEP Director Felicia Collins and Associate Director Katie Smith “really care about us,” Danielle continued. “They check in with us each week. It really feels good to be a part of it.” 

As part of CSTEP, Danielle is collaborating with classmate Mena Abdelmeged and Biology Professor Mary Rea on research to determine if a relationship exists between skin pigmentation and the accuracy of pulse oximeter results. 

“Some studies say there are overestimations of oxygen saturation in those with darker skin pigmentation, and some studies say there are underestimations,” said Danielle, who, in the future, will rely on pulse oximeters to monitor patients during dental surgeries. 

“We’ll see if we’re getting a relationship,” Danielle said of the ongoing research. “The results will point us toward what we will do in the fall.”

Associate Professor Stacie Kutz has been another source of support for her at Sage. 

“She’s been very informative, not only about the topic that we’re learning but anything about science. She wrote my recommendation letter for CSTEP and we have a great bond,” Danielle said. “She’s a teacher who definitely shows their care and interest in the students.” 

On campus, Danielle is a tutor and is part of Sage’s pre-med club.  

Outside of Sage, Danielle works the opening — 5 a.m.! — shift at a coffee shop and is a summer camp counselor. 

“At the summer camp I managed last year, we did all types of activities, including learning activities,” she said. “It was cool to apply what I was learning at Sage to that, and be able to teach children about things of the scientific world.”