As Commencement Approaches, Chloe Boudreau ’24 is Making Up for Lost Time at Pomona

Chloe Boudreau '24 on the lacrosse field

On evenings Chloe Boudreau ’24 anchors the defensive line for Pomona-Pitzer’s women’s lacrosse team, you can catch her inside Honnold/Mudd Library after the game burning the midnight oil.

The 22-year-old molecular biology major lives in perpetual motion, bouncing from class to lacrosse to late-night study sessions back to class in the morning.

But Boudreau has always loved being a student, and with Commencement on the horizon, she’s cherishing her time on campus because she’s had precious little of it over five years.

The Boston native will graduate from Pomona this spring having spent less than four full semesters on campus, and while she never expected to be around in person for such a short amount of time, Boudreau wouldn’t change a thing about her academic journey.

“I’ve loved every single moment of my collegiate experience,” she says.

With no shortage of options to play college lacrosse on the East Coast, Boudreau traveled westward in 2019 to help Sagehens Coach Sarah Queener establish Pomona-Pitzer as an NCAA Division III women’s lacrosse power. But her maiden season in blue and orange was cut short in spring 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Boudreau and the rest of the student body completed that semester virtually, then stayed remote for the entire 2020-21 school year.

As a sophomore, Boudreau applied to study biochemistry and biomedical science at the University of Oxford, St. Edmund Hall, for her entire junior year. While studying abroad would cost her a season of lacrosse, “It was a huge risk I was willing to take,” she says. “If I got in, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

Boudreau got into Oxford and was primed to travel abroad in fall 2021 when the program was suspended due to the pandemic.

After discussing next steps with her family and Queener, Boudreau decided to take a year off school to work at Massachusetts General Hospital in the Colorectal Cancer Research Department. She also interned at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center shadowing the director of Vascular Medicine program and the Cardiology Department.

Additionally, Boudreau worked at a startup company that acts as a surrogacy-matching platform and simultaneously interned at CCRM, a fertility clinic. There, she says she “fell in love with and became passionate about the idea of being a fertility doctor,” a specialty she hopes to pursue as a career. (Her thesis is on the development of preeclampsia in surrogacy pregnancies due to HLA, or Human Leukocyte Antigens, mismatches.)

Boudreau’s acceptance into Oxford carried over to the 2022-23 school year, and in England, she found the one-on-one classes a refreshing change of pace and thrived in a system where students have the freedom to develop their own academic ideas.

“It was the hardest academic year of my life by far,” she recalls. “But I learned so much.”

After her year abroad, Boudreau returned to Pomona this past fall for her senior year.

The campus wasn’t how she remembered it.

Rains Center, for one, had been replaced with the state-of-the-art Center for Athletics, Recreation and Wellness and its vast workout space, rows of weights and dedicated team locker rooms.

“I definitely had to get reacclimated my first semester [back on campus],” she says. “I was a senior pulling out Google Maps to find out where the different classrooms were like I did my freshman year.”

With plans to attend medical school after Commencement, Boudreau says she’s having more fun than ever playing lacrosse with teammates she considers family.

Pomona-Pitzer is having another banner season after a historic run to the Elite Eight a year ago.

The women have a motto: “Do it for your team.”

It exemplifies a culture of selflessness, of love, of tradition, Boudreau says. Coaches, players, starters, reserves, the women and their mutual love of, commitment to and respect for the sport—and each other—make the program what it is. Such principle, Boudreau adds, transcends classes, linking Sagehens past and present.

While playing for Oxford’s lacrosse club last year, Boudreau followed her college teammates as they made their postseason run, knowing she would return after her multi-year hiatus and fit right back in.

“I found a real family and connection and home on this team,” she says.

In addition to her Sagehen family, Boudreau can’t say enough about Associate Professor of Molecular Biology Cristina Negritto and Tracy Arwari, assistant vice president for student affairs dean of students for academic and personal success.

Those two and others in the Molecular Biology Department, Boudreau says, have provided invaluable guidance throughout her years on and off campus.

“I can’t believe I’m almost done,” she adds. “It’s only been three semesters [on campus], but I feel like I’ve been here a while even if I haven’t. I might not know where every hall is, but I have my teammates, who’ve made this untraditional experience such an amazing one.”