caroline2Major: Genetics major, Creative Writing minor

Graduation Year: 2020

How did you decide on your major?

Coming into college, I knew I was interested in medicine and that I wanted to major in something related to biology. I began shadowing in a Genetics lab during the Spring of my freshman year, and knew this was the branch of biology that I wanted to pursue.
What is it about your chosen field (and the department) that appeals to you?
Medicine is rapidly moving in the direction of using genetic approaches as clinical tools. This makes studying Genetics incredibly interesting because what you learn in class is directly applicable to what you’re seeing in the news. As a pre-med student, I feel that having a strong foundation in Genetics will help prepare me for the future of medicine. In addition, the ethical and legal implications of Genetics help make the major a great option for people whose interests are broad and span subjects other than science.

The advisors and professors in the Genetics department are extremely knowledgeable, and in my experience, have gone out of their way to help my peers and I grow. The department also provides many diverse research opportunities.

Do you have a favorite class/professor within your major?

My favorite class within the major so far has been Research for Credit. This course allows me to spend 12-15 hours per week in my lab in place of a traditional class. The research experience I’ve gotten has been invaluable and has helped me realize how much I enjoy wet lab research.
On a related note, my favorite professor is Dr. Karen Schindler. She is the principal investigator that I work under. Dr. Schindler pushes me to think scientifically and challenges me to read literature, write papers, and design experiments at a high level. I am very thankful for the opportunities she has afforded me in her lab and for the time and effort that she puts towards helping me develop as a scientist.

What are your favorite academic experiences outside of your major?

My favorite academic experiences outside of my major include gaining clinical and research experience in places other than Rutgers. I loved volunteering at Robert Wood Johnson, and shadowing doctors at clinics near my home. I really enjoyed a summer internship I had in dry lab research, which looked at quality control in in vitro fertilization (IVF labs).

What are your other Rutgers activities?

My other Rutgers activities include serving as the president of the Kier’s Kidz advisory board, which is a Rutgers chapter of a local charity that supports pediatric cancer. I also am a member of Phi Mu, a social sorority which has allowed me to meet people outside my major and help raise money for Children’s Specialized Hospital. Finally, I work for the Honors College as a community liaison. In this position I plan academic, professional development, diversity awareness, and community service programs for upperclassmen in the Honors College.

What are your plans following graduation?

My current plans following graduation are to pursue my MD-PhD. Throughout college, I have loved learning about medicine and healthcare. However, I cannot see my life without research. Therefore, I think this dual degree is the best match with someone for my interests, and would allow me the most career options once I graduate.

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