Kelly Costa

It was the lack of large lecture halls that brought alumna Kelly Costa to the Biology program at Vermont State University (VTSU) Castleton.

“I loved being a science major at such a small school. Being able to sit in classes where we were able to have discussions with professors rather than sit through large lectures was key for me and my learning style,” she said. “I took many different science classes and the passion of staff fueled my love of learning all things science.” 

Costa graduated from Castleton in 2011 and now lives in Whitinsville, Massachusetts, with her husband, Josh Costa, who also graduated from the Castleton campus. Kelly currently works for Bristol-Myers Squibb as an associate scientist in process development analytics, where she performs analytical testing and development of early-stage Immuno-oncology therapies. 

The Maine native was originally attracted to VTSU Castleton because of its scenic views and home-town feel.

“I had looked at other schools like Springfield and Northeastern, but when I came out to visit the Castleton campus, I immediately loved the area,” she said. “I grew up in a small town in Maine and fell in love with being in the mountains in Vermont. I had gone out to get a tour of the school before I decided to officially apply and I knew I needed to come to VTSU Castleton, it felt like home to me.” 

The ability to ski the surrounding mountains and hike through Vermont’s natural landscape kept Costa busy and happy throughout her time on campus.  

“For me, the Castleton campus is home. To be an alumnus now means that I can always come back to Vermont into the mountains, whether it is Castleton Vermont or surrounding areas like Killington, and feel completely at home. Castleton and Vermont — specifically Killington —played a huge part in shaping who I am today and it will always remain a special place to me.” 

She believes that the faculty and staff made Vermont State University unique in comparison to other colleges, as many co-workers have mentioned their 100-student lecture halls at larger universities and never being able to schedule times with their professors.  

 “To be able to sit down in a classroom with the 11 other students studying organic chemistry and discussing the task as hand rather than sitting through a lecture and trying to figure out what the professor was talking about later was huge,” she said.

Costa thanks Barbara Kimmel for much of her success in the pharmaceutical industry. 

“She was my lab instructor for general chemistry and I became a TA for her afterward. She showed us just how much attention to detail we needed to have while working in a lab,” Costa said. “I was not aware of just how much of an influence she would be until I entered my first job in a chemistry lab.” 

To all current and future Spartans, Costa emphasizes getting out and experiencing all that Vermont State has to offer.  

“Meet with your professors ask questions. Go to all the sports games, plays, and concerts. You will find that every part of your time at VTSU Castleton shapes who you are going to be in the future so go out and discover what it has to offer,” she said.