Fernandes 1Stevyn Fernandes

Major: Genetics

Graduation Year: 2018

How did you decide on your major?

Back when I was in middle school, my science teacher taught us about DNA and genes. I was captivated by the subject from the moment I heard about it. The idea that our entire heritage and being is locked in these tiny molecules within each of our cells was astounding. So, I always knew I was going to choose Genetics coming in to Rutgers, and I am very glad that I did.

What did you like most about it?

An often underrated part of the college experience is finding good mentors. I think the Genetics department is set apart by its amazingly friendly and helpful faculty that always have their doors open to students. The research requirement in the major is backed by faculty eager to have undergraduates in their labs or just to talk about future career plans. In addition, the coursework is both challenging and fair with professors truly invested in having you learn the concepts rather than scramble for a grade.Stevyn 2

What is your current position, what do you, and what do you enjoy most about it?

I am currently a medical student at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. As a first year student my days are mostly spent in the classroom and anatomy labs studying the intricacies of the human body. Some evenings however, are spent in the hospital interacting with patients here in the Bronx, NY. I think that being a part of these patients’ clinical care teams and hearing their diverse and often powerful stories is what makes me feel privileged to be in medicine.

What was your first job after Rutgers and how did you get it?

I went straight to Einstein after graduating from Rutgers. Getting in to medical school was a combination of good grades, great MCAT scores and a strong extracurricular showing.

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes?

One of my favorite classes at Rutgers was Bioinformatics with Dr. Matise. I was able to take my knowledge from that class and apply it in my research lab to conduct an independent data analysis of the oncogene HMGA2 in online cancer datasets. This project culminated in an Honors Thesis in Genetics and a poster presentation at the Aresty Research Conference during my senior year. In addition, I was offered a job as a TA in that very same bioinformatics class for a semester which prompted a previously unknown interest in teaching as well. I think that all these experiences in tandem contributed to allowing me to be where I am today.

What advice do you have for our current Arts and Sciences students?

My biggest piece of advice would be to never say never. Hard work and determination can boost you far beyond what you believed you could achieve. Rutgers offers you the tools to succeed, but it is up to you to seize the opportunities to use them. So work hard, but also remember to have fun. With a healthy balance of both, I am sure you will be spectacular. Good luck!

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