melissaMelissa Gandhi

Major: Genetics 
Minor: Psychology

Graduation Year: 2019

How did you decide on your major?

When I was taking AP Biology in high school, I was really intrigued by the genetics portion! My AP Biology teacher used to be a genetic counselor, so she would tell us stories of what she saw in clinic and I was just amazed. I found genetics to be very exciting and knew that was what I wanted to study in college.

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

The genetics department here at Rutgers has some of the best, if not, the best professors I’ve ever had. They are so passionate about they teach and it shows, which made me passionate in return. They kept the coursework up to date so we were studying what was happening right now in the field. They really want their students to learn and it made for a better learning environment.

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

I am a first-year student at the Rutgers University Genetic Counseling Master’s Program! It’s so exciting to be part of Rutgers’s program because all of the resources we have access to. I really enjoy learning more about genetic disorders and learning from counselors currently in the field!

Looking back, what classes or experiences at Rutgers would you point to as contributing to your successes? RU19 Grad 31

My favorite class was Implications of New Genetics taught by Professor Schindler. As a young scientist, we are taught all these technical terms and how we can apply it, but with today’s culture it is vital to be able to explain what we do to the general population. Professor Schindler’s class taught me the importance of scientific literacy and how we as scientists have to do better in communicating what we do and why we do it because it has implications for policy and thus the future. The lessons that I learned in her class help me as a genetic counseling student because it is part of my job to explain difficult genetic concepts to my patients and I can use what I learned in her class in clinic.

I was also part of an incredible lab the last two years of my undergraduate career. My learning transcended the lab bench – I learned how to be a part of a team, how to train various different kinds of people, and how to give an effective presentation. Both of these experiences, amongst others have shaped to me be the outspoken young scientist that I am today.

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

Get involved! Some of my best experiences I had were at club events.

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