Online comments of the week
Published: Thursday, September 20, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 20, 2012 21:09
In response to “Sciences fill Career Expo” (Sept. 14, 2012)
In a time where humanities and social sciences majors are being called upon to justify their choice of studies, I find it rather shocking that Rice is not doing more to help them. Not to be rude, but engineers, pre-meds and hard science students are not going to have problems finding jobs once they leave the hedges. Rice should be helping its non-science majors to find employment, as they’re the ones who are in need of the help!
In response to “Students in School of Natural Science burdened with inferior advising” (Sept. 14, 2012)
Great article. I was a biochemistry major a few years back, and I remember not developing a sense of “belonging” to the department until my senior year, when I did an honors thesis and actually spent a lot of time in a lab. During my giant introductory classes earlier in my college career, I didn’t feel like we were getting enough of a “welcome” to the department, if that makes any sense. I took the introductory bioengineering class to see what it was like, and I remember on the first day, the professor took everyone’s pictures and posted them on the wall in the department. You were now part of the bioengineering department, which was going to be your home and provide you with academic support throughout your career at Rice. That seemed pretty cool. The professors talked about possible future career paths and how to plan for them. I didn’t see the same thing happening in the biochemistry department, however. Perhaps things have changed now, though.
I think there needs to be more emphasis early on getting biochemistry students together in small mentor groups. Students need to know that they can have exciting careers in pharmacy, in molecular epidemiology (a career path I wasn’t even aware existed as an undergrad), in public health and even in law. Pre-medical students need robust advising, too. If a student is interesting in orthopedics or physical medicine and rehabilitation, maybe a degree in mechanical or bioengineering would make more sense than a degree in biochemistry. On the other hand, if he or she is interested in a career in endocrinology or infectious disease, perhaps that biochemistry or evolutionary biology degree makes more sense. A student interested in a future career in neuroscience or genetics might be better steered toward a degree in computer science or computational and applied mathematics. Most college freshmen and sophomores don’t yet have the long-range outlook and experience to know that these undergraduate major choices might really affect their future in the medical field.