Earlier this month, we kicked off our new Department Series by putting a spotlight on MC’s School of Business. This week, we are putting a spotlight on two of our departments that are found in our School of Sciences and Mathematics: Biology and Chemistry.
The Biology and Chemistry departments offer a wide variety of majors including Medical Science, Research, Biochemistry, General Biology, Science Education, Chemistry/Career, Chemical Physics, and Chemistry/Secondary Education.
Dr. Tullos, Mr. Kazery, and Dr. Norcross have answered questions regarding student success for the Biology department and Mrs. Raines and Dr. Smith have answered questions regarding student success for the Chemistry department. (For the full responses from these professors, click here.)
What do I need to know going into the School of Sciences and Mathematics as a Biology or Chemistry major?
Dr. Norcross (Biology): Know that it’s going to take a lot of hard work, but it will be worthwhile in the end. You have to be willing to put in the time in order to get the grades you want. Studying the night before will not work. Also, know that here at MC, the professors in the biology and chemistry departments are very approachable. So, when you do struggle, you can come and ask us any questions you may have and we are happy and eager to help.
Dr. Smith (Chemistry): I would say that, if you’re coming as a Chemistry major, you need to have a good math background, you need to be ready to work hard and to have fun while you’re doing it. The labs are really fun and interesting. We’ve really built the labs to reinforce the concepts that are learned in lecture, so you don’t just have to hear about it, but you can see it in action. So, it’s a lot of doing what you’re learning.
How can I get involved in the Biology or Chemistry department?
Dr. Tullos (Biology): We have a number of ways you can get involved such as Tri Beta (the general biology honors society), the AED (Alpha Epsilon Delta) which is the pre-med society, and we also have a pre-dental society. Those cover the majority of our students. Another way is to pursue research with one of the faculty. We have many research faculty and there are different levels of research engagement. So maybe you could do this in a semester or in the summer. You could even do it long-term – perhaps as a research thesis.
Dr. Smith (Chemistry): One way is through the SMACS club. We are very active and we have all kinds of projects we do throughout the year. [...] Another way to get involved is through undergraduate research which is something you don’t usually get at bigger, public schools. [...] Another way is that we offer jobs in our department (tutors and laboratory assistants). [...]
How should a student study for your class(es)/other classes like it?
Mr. Kazery (Biology): There are so many methods for studying out there. The overall idea is to retain and understand as much as possible. My favorite method of studying would be to get a small group and teach each other the material. Either on a white board or maybe on a PowerPoint. This helps reinforce the material, but it helps much more after you have studied yourself so that you are already familiar with the material. Quizzing each other also helps – especially if the questioning evolves from one dimensional to a higher-thinking question.
Mrs. Raines (Chemistry): I wouldn’t necessarily treat it like a normal class where you try to memorize everything from the book or from lecture. It’s very much an active learning process where you practice all the examples so that you know how to use the equations and how exactly to apply what you’re learning. It’s more application than memorization when it comes to Chemistry.
What are my career options as a Biology or Chemistry major?
Dr. Tullos (Biology): For Research Biology, this major will prepare you to do biological science research across a wide range of specialties. Specialties such as botany, genetics, zoology, ecology, human health research, disease and pathogenic research, etc. For Medical Sciences, this major will suit people who want to be doctors, dentists, physician assistants, and a whole host of subspecialties. Biology education would be for people who want to teach either general science to middle schoolers or biology science to high schoolers.
Mrs. Raines (Chemistry): You could work in the chemical industry like ERDC, the Engineer Research and Development Center at the US Army Corps of Engineers. You could also do a non-traditional route such as going to professional school. Either way, because you know how to think scientifically, a lot of other places see you as a value because you know who to think and research and that could be very beneficial for all sorts of companies.
Do you have any general advice for a student entering the Biology or Chemistry department?
Mr. Kazery (Biology): Just because you are passionate about something, that does not mean you will always do well. Be ready to make mistakes, just be sure you learn from them.
Dr. Smith (Chemistry): Work hard, don’t get behind, but have fun while you’re doing it. And get involved – not just in the chemistry department, but get involved across campus as well and get to know your professors – we are not bad people. We do want the best for you!
If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time at MC as a Biology/Medical Sciences major, it’s that my professors truly do want the best for their students. I have never been surrounded by so many professors who have both a passion and a gift for teaching coupled with an abundance of knowledge on the subjects they teach (and more). I highly encourage you to seek out your professors and get to know them as soon as you get to campus. They are excited to get to know you and to help you succeed in these departments. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to yourself to them.
The Biology and Chemistry departments are both filled with faculty and students who are thrilled to help you not only succeed, but thrive in their departments.
If you would like to read the full responses from the professors, click here.
A Student Who is Profoundly Grateful for Her Supportive and Approachable Professors