Biochemistry Student Profile
Name: Lauren Anderson
Graduation Year: 2014
How and why did you choose your major?
I knew in high school that I wanted to pursue a degree in the biological sciences. I took A.P. biology and A.P chemistry courses and was especially engaged in the complex, intricate metabolic processes in living organisms. I also knew that getting a degree in a biological subject would prove beneficial to me when looking for employment after college. If you like learning about metabolism, chemical kinetics, and even genetics, I encourage you to look into studying for a biochemistry degree.
Please give a description (in your words) of your major including the things you learn, favorite classes, and any challenges you have faced.
To be a biochemistry major, you must take calculus 2. While the major is one of the more challenging CBS majors, the classes are very interesting. Like other CBS majors, you must take general chemistry, organic chemistry, biology, and physics. What is unique about the major is that you take two semesters of upper-level biochemistry, physical biochemistry, biochemistry research topics, and biochemistry lab. After taking the courses for this major, I feel that I have a bachelor's level grasp on understanding biochemical kinetics, signal transduction, genetics, common biochemical research techniques, and the most common biochemical pathways in the body. The most challenging courses I took in my major were biochemistry 1 and 2, because there was a lot of content to memorize and apply. However, I felt that what I learned was rewarding and foundational for my understanding of molecular biology. By far my favorite courses in my degree have been physiology (Phsl 3061), biochemistry 2 (Bioc 4332), genetics (Biol 4003), and biochemistry lab (Bioc 4025).
What types of experiences outside of the classroom have you had relating to your major? (i.e. clubs, jobs, internships, volunteering, study abroad etc.)
Outside of the classroom, I have had much experience with research. I have done two different projects (one neuroscience and the other geomicrobiology) and a UROP. Both projects have solidified my interests in the biological sciences and I feel that my background in biochemistry has helped my understanding of my research. In the past, I volunteered as a clinical research associate at a local hospital. I also have my PCA certification and highly recommend working as a PCA for any pre-health students as it is a lot of fun. I am not currently part of any clubs but in the past, I was active in Biology Without Borders (was an Assistant Trip Leader for the 2012 Peru trip) for 2 years. I have studied abroad in the Galápagos Islands (Biol 4950) and absolutely loved it! I highly recommend it for any biological science students, or anybody interested in animals and tropical ecosystems. I also volunteered for 2.5 weeks abroad in Cusco, Peru 2 years ago through Biology Without Borders (which was a very fun trip as well). Another program I am involved in is the Community Engagement Scholars Program, which is an organization concerned with ethics and meaningful service work.
In your opinion, what is one thing, or one piece of advice that other students pursuing your major should know?
Students pursuing the biochemistry major should make an effort to get to know the faculty in the department. I highly recommend also engaging yourself in a research project (which does not have to be in a biochemistry lab) because conducting research helps you apply your knowledge. I also recommend looking for internships and trying a little of everything as far as career interests go. Do not narrow yourself down to one career path because you may find that you are more suited for another and you may find something you are really passionate about. Also, when taking the prerequisites for the biochemistry degree, work with your advisor on designing your class schedule so you do not take too many difficult courses together.