Being a Biology Major

Hi! My name is Susan Kurian, and this is my second year at Shepherd University as a biology major.

 I know that a lot of students are curious about college schedules, and wonder what being a science major looks like on a daily basis. Therefore, I’m sharing an example of one of my weeks at Shepherd University:

 On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, Organic Chemistry class starts at 10:10 A.M. in Snyder Hall. Dr. Eugene Volker has been teaching this class for a number of years, and he enjoys punctuating his lectures with anecdotes and funny catchphrases. On Wednesdays at 4 P.M., I have a weekly lab with Dr. Volker, and students in my class perform distillations, mass spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy, and assemble models of carbon compounds. Every Friday in lecture we have a short quiz, which keeps students on their toes.

Dr. Volker and the GC-MS Spectrometer

 After Organic Chemistry in the morning, I go down the stairs to Microbiology with Dr. Adam Parks. Dr. Parks likes to ask questions during his lectures, and his powerpoints sometimes have sound effects or unexpected animations! He also expects us to ask at least one question while in lecture, so that he knows we were making connections while listening. My lab periods with Dr. Parks are on Tuesday and Thursday at 3 P.M., and we have lot of fun plating bacteria using aseptic technique and checking for growth under specific conditions.

 My schedule also includes a number of non-science classes, including Introduction to Art, Honors World History, and a literature seminar on Shakespeare’s Hamlet. I have each of these classes twice a week, and they involve a lot of reading and essay writing. Personally, I enjoy the fact that Shepherd University requires classes like these, because they make students well-rounded, and can be a nice break from science.

 There are other things about being a biology major in college besides the classes. For example, I am pre-med and in the MedSTEP program, and I hope to take my MCAT soon. I joined the science fraternities Sigma Pi Epsilon and Beta Beta Beta, which both meet on Monday afternoons in the Byrd Science Building.

Shepherd University’s Sigma Pi Epsilon 2010 Highlight Video from Joey Stevenson on Vimeo.

My advisor is Dr. Lidgerding, and I am in the Honors Program at Shepherd, along with a few other science majors in my year. I tutor Physics and Math at the Academic Support Center, and I live on campus with an economic major, a political science major, and another biology major.

Being a biology major, or any kind of science major, can be a lot of work, but at Shepherd there is a big focus on enjoying what you learn, balancing subjects, doing exciting extracurricular activities with friends, meeting people with diverse goals and interests, and planning for the future. Seriously, what’s not to like? No matter how busy my week gets I still love science, and I can’t wait to learn more!

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