Sneha Gupta

Name: Nick Powers

Major: Genetics

Graduation Year: 2024

How did you decide on your major?

Prior to transferring to Rutgers, I took a genetics class with one of my favorite professors in my college career, Dr. Melanie Lenahan, at Raritan Valley Community College. I instantly fell in love with the subject. However, I will admit, I already had an interest in the life sciences prior. I remember being so fascinated learning lab techniques about the concepts I was learning in lecture. It was the first time I realized I loved being in a wet lab. 

What is it about your chosen field (and the department) that appeals to you?

The Genetics Department is incredibly research-focused, and I love that. Students who participate in research labs at Rutgers learn a great deal of independence from the experience. They also gain the ability to immerse themselves deeply in their designated field. I would not have ever known my love for the subject without hands-on experience. For that reason, it's great that the Genetics Department requires students to gain lab experience. Moreover, I love the department’s “personality.” In the brutal world of a pre-health student, I really appreciate the personalized experience you can build as a Genetics major. I appreciate the chances I've been given to truly be involved in my field and decide what parts of it I would like to continue to pursue post-graduation.

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

I would not be able to answer this question without mentioning ‘Behavioral and Neural Genetics’ taught by Dr. Shumyatsky, who is the Principal Investigator of the lab I’m in. This class’s focus on the combination of genetics and neurobiology opened my world to applications of the subject of genetics that I had never known before. It truly sparked my interest and spurred me to join Dr. Shumyatsky's lab. It also made me excited to jump into the crossroads of genetics and other fields, something of which I had yet to really do. That being said, I have had only positive experiences with the professors in my Genetics classes. I very much enjoyed Gene Regulation: Clocks to Cancer with Dr. Barber and Dr. Edery. They make it very easy to be interested in the topics being covered, and Dr. Verzi, Dr. Yadavalli, and Dr. McKim make Genetic Analysis 1 and 2 feel like an experience and not just another core class.

What are your favorite academic experiences outside of your major?

I am an inaugural member of the Division of Life Sciences Student Ambassadors organization. We have fostered connections with pre-health organizations on campus, organized events to build connections between the school, student-based organizations, and the students those organizations can reach. We have also worked with multiple students to advise them in their early education path and are in the process of organizing events to create a sense of tangible community within the Division of Life Sciences. I am also a member of the Rutgers Association of Undergraduate Geneticists (Rutgers-AUG), Rutgers American Medical Student Association (Rutgers-AMSA), Rutgers American Preventative Screening and Education Association (Rutgers-APSEA) and have run with the Rutgers Intramural Running Club in the past.

What are your plans following graduation?

Post graduation, I plan to apply to post-baccalaureate programs before applying to MD/PhD programs. I really want to keep a focus on research, but my recent time in more healthcare related aspects of the field has made me realize that I need to be a part of that side as well. 

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