Biology - From Classroom to Career Sophomore Year

cas_flag_sophomoreMore Advising

Use your faculty advisor and peer advising to choose the best courses, given your interest. Be prepared for your annual meetings. Look for unusual opportunities that could indirectly help a career in science.ctc_bio_soph_1

"As vice president of the student body at Fairfield, "the experience gave me the opportunity to get a sense of the business realm as well as human resource management. I've tapped into those skills to great success over the years. Business and management are such important aspects of being a good scientist and yet there is little training for those skills as a scientist... It wasn't until I took a coral reef ecology course my junior year that I realized there was a life for a biologist outside of med school. The future was starting to look a whole lot brighter!" 

- Ecologist Caitlin O'Connell-Rodwell '87; Biology; author of a major scientific discovery about seismic communication in elephants

Research Opportunities
Talk to your professor or department chair about opportunities for summer research as paid research assistants on campus, in NSF sponsored summer intern programs at other institutions throughout the country, or other opportunities as an upperclassman.ctc_bio_soph_2

Organic Practices, Harvested Crops
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.

Interact With and Learn From Alumni
The department invites successful alums back for guest lectures and occasional Biology Career Night nights. Look for announcements.

As a senior biology major, this was a great chance to talk to alumni, who utilized their technical degrees beyond medical and graduate school. It really shows the versatility of the biology degree.

- Katie Hassett '11

BASE Camp (Broadening Access to Science Education

Looking ahead, BASE Camp projects offer upperclassmen an informative and fun week-long experience with actual scientific research, serving as counselors across all scientific disciplines at Fairfield. Projects change every year, allowing students to choose from a variety of topics. Look for the annual listing of summer events.

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.ctc_bio_soph_4

Visit the lecture series website for current details on lecture topics, locations, and times.

Keep Dreaming
What happens after Fairfield? What would be your "dream job" - and how do you get there? Talk to your faculty advisor and other mentors: How can you use your remaining time at Fairfield to prepare for it?

Honores Programs
Qualified Biology students participate in the Honors Program at Fairfield University. For students with an exceptional academic record of achievement, check out the opportunity to be elected to the country's premier honor society.

Talk to your faculty advisor and start planning now for potential internships. Think about "trying out" a career, gaining work experience, marketable skills, potential mentors and a competitive edge. Look for potential matches between an internship with your career.

Internships for biology majors have been established at St. Vincent's and Bridgeport hospitals; Hartford, Danbury, Norwalk, Waterbury and Stamford hospitals; The Hospital of St. Raphael in New Haven; Fairfield County Rehabilitation Center; The Maritime Center in Norwalk; Bridgeport Regional Aquaculture School; Bridgeport Hydraulic Company; Stratford Conservation Commission; Connecticut Audubon Society; Connecticut's Beardsley Zoo; Earthplace; and the offices of various medical practitioners.ctc_bio_soph_5

Line Up References
Start to look for three or more professors in Biology and elsewhere who might serve as professional references for you. Discuss your future plans with them and ask for guidance. Stay in touch with them so they can speak about your successes in an informed way.ctc_bio_fresh_6

Sigma Xi
Attend the annual Sigma Xi poster session, held in Bannow every spring. See the work of other Biology majors, and imagine how your work will be displayed in future years. Contact: Dr. Jim Biardi, advisor. Ext.: 3465; E-mail:

Related Interests
Interested in the Health Professions at Fairfield? You can receive specific advice on how to best prepare yourself to become a strong applicant for admission to a health professions school. Each semester, in addition to regular program meetings with all other pre-health students, you'll meet one-on-one with the program advisor. Those strategy sessions will help you determine how to best plan and carry out all of the components of building your application packet for graduate programs. The health professions advisor also works with the   to offer general and specific advice, to anyone on campus, concerning the many professional opportunities in the health sciences. In addition to the necessary science courses, internships and research opportunities, Fairfield also provides you with a strong background in the liberal arts that emphasizes the ethical and human side of medicine, through appropriate courses in the social sciences and humanities. This helps students to build a broad perspective on healthcare and its associated issues, such as patient's rights, health care policy and legislation, ethics, etc.

One of the things that helped me a lot during my study at Fairfield and made me able to make it to dental school was the guidance of Dr. Church and the HPP (health professions) program. From the first meeting, I was able to learn about the things I have to do in my next sophomore and junior years which eased the way for me to have a specific plan to follow to get to the point I needed to, also the one to one meeting with my advisor. 

- Ali Abdul Majeed '12; biology major; currently a graduate student at the University Of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine

All of this serves to make Fairfield applicants stand out during the very competitive admissions process. In sophomore year, you should be earning good grades in all your classes, especially the science classes. The best time for students to gain valuable experience within the health care setting is usually during the summer before the junior year. Make sure that you investigate various options for clinical exposure or research with the health professions advisor during the sophomore year so that you know what you will be doing for the summer.

Biology - Life After Fairfield
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:

  • Chiropractic
  • Epidemiology
  • Mortuary science
  • Nutrition
  • Medical lab technology
  • Optometry
  • Osteopathy
  • Physiotherapy
  • Physician assistants
  • Public health
  • Podiatry

Several have gone to law school with the aim of specializing in forensics or environmental law. Others have found positions in government agencies where knowledge of biology is a qualification and some have taken business positions in hospital administration or with pharmaceutical companies. Those entering graduate schools have specialized in at least 20 different fields of modern biology.

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.


Biology career activities by class year

Freshman Year | Sophomore Year | Junior Year | Senior Year

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