BAR HARBOR, MAINE — The MDI Biological Laboratory has announced that Christopher Sighinolfi, a managing director in US Equity Research at Jefferies and one of Wall Street’s top-rated energy analysts, has joined its board of trustees.
Sighinolfi, who spent four summers at the Bar Harbor institution as a high school and undergraduate research fellow, will focus on building relationships with student alumni. The student fellows work under the direction of MDI Biological Laboratory faculty and scientists in the summer visiting scientist program, which has recently been revitalized by President Hermann Haller.
Though Sighinolfi pursued a career in finance rather than science, his summer research experience was a major benefit to his career, he said. The opportunity to work with internationally renowned scientists taught him the value of pursuing a worthwhile goal over the long term, while this experience, along with his role as a residential advisor, also helped build his leadership skills.
As a board member, Sighinolfi wants to ensure that students continue to benefit from the opportunity to participate in summer research fellowships. He has embarked on an initiative to build a database of former student fellows that can be used by the development department as a fundraising tool to support summer fellowships and other education and research opportunities.
“Because the laboratory is independent, rather than a part of academia, fundraising is critically important,” he said. “Though it has strong support, the donor community is older, which is why building a relationship with the next generation is so important. One step is to reach out to people like me who were helped by the lab as they were coming up, many of whom feel about it as I do.”
“We welcome Chris’ enthusiasm and commitment,” said Edward J. Benz Jr., the board’s acting chairman. “As an alum of our summer student fellow program, Chris has the contacts to help us build a new generation of supporters who are as dedicated as he is to the future of an institution that has shaped the careers of so many talented young people.”
Sighinolfi lives in New York City with his wife, Devon, and infant son, Dominic.