• Graduation Year: 2024


Naziyah Rahman squareMajor: Biological Sciences

Minor: Creative Writing 

How did you decide on your major?

After initially starting out in the 6-year PharmD program, I switched out towards the end of my sophomore year, because I didn’t feel the profession was for me. After combing through an extensive number of different science-based majors that Rutgers offers, I finally settled on the Biological Sciences because of all the different subject areas that you can take classes for. Electives from the Ecology department, Microbiology department, and the Cell Biology and Neuroscience department, to name a few, count towards the major! I loved the exposure that I would get by completing courses under so many different departments, which all branch on the fundamentals of biology that you learn in your early years of completing the major. At the time, I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do after college, so the ability to experience and learn about different areas of biology, which I loved as a whole, was a must-have for me.

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

Being a Biological Sciences major is an incredibly immersive experience. It took me two years to finally decide on pursuing a medical degree, after exploring pharmacy, PA, optometry, and other careers within the health professions field. The great thing about the major is that it gives you some exposure to everything so that you’re able to make an educated choice about your future. Also, all of the professors are incredibly thorough with the material — as individuals that have done research in their respective fields, they are able to answer my questions with a level of nuance that always ends up making sense for me. In their office hours, they take lecture material and go even deeper — having such a vast ocean of knowledge available at my fingertips fuels my love for Biology and medicine.

Do you have favorite class/professor within your major?

My favorite class that I’ve taken would have to be either Systems Physiology with Dr. Cassie Nelson, Genetics with Dr. Mai Soliman, or Genetics of Compulsive Behavior with Dr. Lei You — as you can tell, I’ve always been fascinated with genetics, which is why I chose to take electives within that field (another reason why I chose the Biological Sciences as my major — the ability to take electives in the fields I love while still exploring other fields). Learning about the possible genetics behind why we are the way we are, especially in context of compulsive behavior disorders like ADHD, was an eye-opening experience. Systems Physiology was incredibly intriguing in learning the different processes of each of the systems of the body in a way that seemed so complex, yet was only a sneak peek into the intricacies of the human body.

What are your favorite academic experiences outside of your major?

I’m a creative writing minor, so I have taken several poetry and fiction classes in my time here. I wasn’t initially a creative writing minor, but after taking an Introduction to Creative Writing class my sophomore year, I found that I loved finding different ways to express myself through writing, and ultimately, found that poetry was my favorite way to do so. Interestingly, concepts from biology sometimes show up in the poems that I study in my Advanced Creative Writing workshop, and I am able to share new perspectives with my classmates.

What are your other Rutgers activities?

Outside of academics, I’ve been deeply involved in the Muslim Student Association here at Rutgers — I started out my freshman year as a team member on a few different teams, and am now the Marketing chair as a senior. While I can’t begin to explain the incredible people that I’ve met in my four years as part of this community, some of my favorite experiences would have to be Involvement fair, where I met so many welcoming individuals at stands for different clubs while also being able to represent the club where I found so many of my closest friends. I also love our annual Islam Awareness Week, where we set up a tent in Brower Commons with different stands like henna, calligraphy, and more, and talk to passersby about all things Islam. My sophomore year was my first year on-campus after the pandemic, and when I had first moved into McCormick suites, I fondly remember going to all the different programs put on by the student centers, including Game Night at BSC and Karaoke Night at LSC. It was truly such a warm welcome to Rutgers. And of course, an honorary mention to Hot Dog Day.

What are your plans following graduation?

After graduation, I plan to take a gap year to broaden my experience while applying to medical school — I’ve worked at medical offices and have volunteered, but want to also take some time to enhance my research experience and possibly work as an EMT. After that, I hope to go to medical school.

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