Biology - From Classroom to Career Freshman Year
Use your academic advisor and the peer advising program to explore Biology and other potential majors, minors, programs and courses, given your interest. What core courses fit best with your career goals? Work them into your schedule.
What To Do with a Biology Degree
Do some Internet research at sites like 101+ things you can do with a degree in biology.
Interact With and Learn From Alumni
The department invites successful alumni back for guest lectures and occasional Biology Career Night nights. Look for announcements.
[Investigating other career options] was really important because it allowed me to see what other opportunities are out there. Many biology majors think that medical school is the only option.
-Brittney Gonclaves '09; Biology major; currently working for Optimus Healthcare. (On attending the Biology Career night while a student at Fairfield)
What is your "dream job" after graduation? What are you passionate about? Talk to your faculty advisor and other mentors. As a Biology major, how can you use your remaining time at Fairfield to prepare for your career through class work, internships, volunteer activities, summer jobs, leadership positions with clubs and organizations, and other relevant out of class experiences?
Jump right into what you think you want to do and just go for it. You can always change later, but at least you'll be ahead of the game if that one thing turned out to be what you really wanted. Never give up on your dream. I fought hard to figure out how to make something of my biology degree after I graduated. Getting into graduate school was not an immediate option for me. I knew I wanted to work outside, and with animals. That's when the serendipity kicked in and I was invited by a friend to volunteer on a lizard ecology project in the Caribbean, the summer after I graduated from Fairfield. That was the beginning of a very long and happy life as a scientist for me. With some experience as a professional biologist, I was able to get into a graduate program at UH and the rest is history."
-Ecologist Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell '87; Biology; author of a major scientific discovery about seismic communication in elephants
Get Your Hands Dirty
Do you have an interest in gardening? The campus vegetable and herb garden is located across from the Charles F. Dolan School of Business. The garden is maintained using organic practices and harvested crops are used to prepare meals on campus or donated to local food banks. Talk to Biology Professors Jen Klug or Tod Osier if you're interested in participating in this community outreach program.
Come and Hear From the Experts
The annual Biology Lecture Series brings to campus scientists from various biology disciplines who share their expertise, discoveries and experiences with students and faculty. The lecture series is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Donald J. Ross Sr., a long-time biology professor. Visit the lecture series website for current details on lecture topics, locations, and times.
Look for students with similar interests
I loved life at Fairfield. It's such a beautiful place. The camaraderie between students was remarkable. Whether I was studying at a late-night review session with friends or hanging out at the townhouses, all of my time at Fairfield attributed to my personal growth. I made lasting relationships while there as well. I still pick up the phone to call my old roommate. We lived together in the first floor of Gonzaga, which we then referred to as (affectionately, of course) "the pit."
-Dr. John Araujo '91; Biology; medical doctor, MD Anderson Cancer Center, The University of Texas
"As a biology major, it's possible to have two to three labs a week. My friends find it hard to believe I enjoy a nearly four-hour class. But the projects and experiments we work on are fun and interesting, so the time goes by fast. I'm also a lab assistant and set up for biochemistry, genetics, and cellular biology laboratories.
Last summer, I worked on the latest advancements in endangered animal conservation, genetic, and reproductive technology research at the Audubon Center for Research in Endangered Species.
Whatever you decide to major in, if you love it, stick with it. Even if it seems difficult at first, the professors are here to guide you."
Many related pursuits. Talk to your faculty advisor about these potential options:
Biology students interested in a career in the health professons can become part of a careful mentoring and advising process beginning in the first year (or whenever they decide to pursue a health professions career). A faculty advisor will guide each student in the selection of an appropriate course of study for a wide variety of careers in the health professions; review the academic standards applied by the various medical/professional schools, and the specific tests required by these schools; help students to identify internships, research, and volunteer opportunities; discuss a range of other important issues related to the world of the health professions; and organize program meetings where health care workers or professional school admissions officers present information.
Many students majoring in biology follow the pre-med concentration and have become surgeons, family physicians, psychiatrists, dentists, and veterinarians. In addition to medicine and advanced study, career paths chosen by graduates of recent years include allied health fields such as Chiropractic, Epidemiology, Mortuary Science, Nutrition, Medical lab technology, Optometry, Osteopathy, Physiotherapy, Physician assistants, Public health, and Podiatry.
There is no single "pre-health" major at the University. Students should explore all their interests regarding potential majors, there is no "best major" for a health professions program student. Introduce yourself to the health professions advisor and pick up a copy of the Health Professions Handbook. They will sit down with you and discuss your plans or thoughts about a career in the health professions. Due to the number of required courses, your schedule will be tight.
Also look at minors such as Environmental Studies.
Attend the annual Sigma Xi poster session, held in the Campus Center every spring. See the work of other Biology majors, and imagine how your work will be displayed in future years.
Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, was founded in 1886 as an honor society for scientists and engineers. Headquartered in Research Triangle Park, N.C., it is an international research society whose programs and activities promote the health of the scientific enterprise and honor scientific achievement. There are more than 80,000 Sigma Xi members in about 500 chapters at colleges and universities, industrial research centers, and government laboratories.
Each year the Society initiates nearly 5,000 new members. The Society is a diverse chapter-based organization dedicated to the advancement of science and engineering through outstanding programs and services delivered in a collegial and supportive environment. The mission of Sigma Xi is to enhance the health of the research enterprise, foster integrity in science and engineering, and promote the public's understanding of science for the purpose of improving the human condition. Vision: To be the global honor society of science and engineering. Contact: Dr. Jim Biardi, advisor, (203) 254-4000 ext. 3465; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Freshman Housing Option
Take a look at the Women in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (WiSTEM) Living-Learning Community at Fairfield. This community is located on the third floor of Gonzaga Hall and is home to about thirty first-year student participants and two upper-class Resident Assistants. The mission of WiSTEM is to provide services and programming to women pursuing the STEM fields through a residential community which emphasizes connections with faculty, alumni, professionals, and peers in an effort to create a supportive environment where women can succeed at Fairfield University. The WiSTEM community enhances the educational experiences by providing academic development and leadership opportunities through its various services and programs.
That's just the start. Take a look at this career information from other University offices that we think is also valuable to Biology majors.