How did you decide on your major?
I first decided to attend Rutgers because of all the opportunities in the sciences. I spent some time debating which Life Science major I actually wanted to do, because I really liked all of them. Then I realized I didn't have to pick one, because with a Biological Sciences major, I could take almost any class I wanted to, with the fewest restrictions. Looking back, it was definitely the best choice for me: I was able to take multiple advanced classes in all the different Life Science disciplines, including metabolism, exercise physiology, microbiology, biochemistry, and genetics.
What is it about your chosen field (and the department) that appeals to you?
I grew up enthralled by mysteries, and the most satisfying feeling to me was uncovering the truth about something. That's what science, and biology is to me - the process of slowly uncovering the truth about life. At one point throughout my undergraduate career, it hit me that biology is constantly changing, and things that we swore to be true years ago are questionable now. Yet, that in itself is the best part. Science isn't about who is right or wrong, it's not about coercion or politics. The only agenda we have as biologists is the pursuit of the truth, and I think that’s worth spending my life studying.
Do you have favorite class/professor within your major?
One of the best parts about my college experience is the amazing professors. I have bonded with many of them because they are all so passionate about what they are teaching, and it always makes me want to learn more. One such professor was Dr. Doreen Glodowski, with whom I took Analysis of Scientific Literature and Genetics. The classes themselves were both very interesting to me, and I also loved her teaching style. The first time I asked her a question, she asked me one right back. At first, I was scared out my wits because I didn't understand what was happening. Then, slowly, she guided me and helped me reach the answer myself. It worked so well that I now try to incorporate the same method when I am teaching.
What are your favorite academic experiences outside of your major?
I took a voice class my sophomore year and loved it so much I took it again the next semester. My first solo performance was one of the hardest and most embarrassing things I had ever done - I forgot the words to "Somewhere over the Rainbow"! Yet, after practice, determination, and a great voice professor, I became more and more comfortable expressing myself in front of an audience. I am now much more confident in presenting myself, and that has translated to almost every other aspect of my life.
What are your other Rutgers activities?
I have been working at Dr. Monica Driscoll's aging lab since freshman year. It has, overall, been my most transformative experience at Rutgers. I came to college knowing I wanted to do medicine, but after being under the guidance of Dr. Driscoll and all the amazing, inspiring people in her lab, I have found a love for science research that I will carry with me throughout my career. I plan to defend my honors thesis based on my research in her lab. I have also taught with ODASIS, mentored with the Honors Program, and participated in several 5k races.
What are your plans following graduation?
I will be attending the University of South Florida College of Medicine.