Breanna Mesich ’20 honors thesis published online after conference’s cancellation

GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College graduate Breanna Mesich ’20 turned her personal voyage of discovery about Celiac Disease into her honors thesis. Her work was published online after the conference where she was scheduled to present her research was canceled.

Mesich’s Dietrich Honors Institute thesis, “Celiac Disease: The Masked Enemy,” was selected for publication to the Northeast Regional Honors Conference website. Mesich’s honors thesis explains the diagnosis, symptoms, possible treatments and mental health effects of Celiac Disease. Mesich, a 2016 graduate of Hempfield Area High School, was a biology major with minors in mathematics, biochemistry and medical biology. Members of Thiel College’s Dietrich Honors Institute are students involved in a rigorous academic curriculum while also being engaged in community service initiatives.

The Jeannette, Pa. native was diagnosed with Celiac Disease after experiencing migraines, unexplained weight loss and several other symptoms. She explains to her audience how the autoimmune disease has affected her life, and the importance of being aware of the disease for everyone, especially those who prepare food for someone with this life-changing, mentally draining, emotional and extremely physical disease. Thiel College Associate Professor of Biology Sarah Swerdlow, Ph.D. supervised Mesich’s paper.

Students were supposed to present in April at the annual conference in Albany, N.Y; however, the conference was canceled. In an effort to recognize any student presenter who still wished to showcase work, the webpage was created.

At Thiel, Mesich is active in Chi Omega women’s fraternity, National Society of Leadership and Success, Kappa Mu Epsilon honorary society for mathematics, Beta Beta Beta honorary society for biology, Lambda Sigma honor society for sophomores, Les Lauriers service honorary, Order of Omega Greek service honorary, the American Chemical Society, and the Thiel softball and golf teams. She was a super tutor for The Learning Commons, a resident assistant and a lab assistant for the Department of Biology. Mesich also raised money for Make-A-Wish, which is Chi Omega’s philanthropic organization and worked with The Good Shepherd.

She is the daughter of Brian and Susan Mesich, of Jeannette, Pa.

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Thiel College is a private liberal arts institution founded in the Lutheran tradition. Located in Greenville, Pa., the College offers 60 majors and minors, 25 varsity sports, and a 10:1 student-faculty ratio to more than 900 students. A dedicated faculty paired with dynamic research and internship opportunities produce numerous graduate school and job placements. Coeducational from its beginnings, the College remains committed to combining tradition with innovation as it celebrates 150 years.