Sofia Ali, a first-year biology major at Loyola University Chicago shares her experiences as a new college student.

My first year as a biology major at Loyola is almost over, and it has gone pretty well. The majority of the students are pursuing careers in sciences like biology, chemistry, or nursing, so it’s pretty easy to bump into someone and establish a connection — especially the upperclassmen who have already taken classes I am currently taking. My biology course was a review of the material I learned in my IB classes in high school and chemistry has been a bit of a challenge. But, there are many resources at Loyola such as tutoring, study groups, and practicing example problems that have really helped me succeed.

I have labs once a week for three hours, — the class does seem a little long sometimes— but the biology labs are fascinating! During my first semester I was looking at slides in microscopes and drawing images of what I saw, whereas this semester, I have done more dissections and really gotten a chance to interact with different animals from various phyla’s. Dissecting them amazes me and reminds me how similar these creatures are to us, yet are so different as well. It has definitely given me a better understanding of the animals around us and how everything works together in our ecosystem.

I’ve noticed that many of my classes have mostly females, whereas males are mostly in the school of business. It’s encouraging to see so many women learning the same things as I am. Knowing I have fellow females working in the same field gives me confidence and a sense of comfort that we are all in this together. It also makes me feel stronger and more confident in my abilities and love of science.

I plan on pursuing a career in medical research to help others and hopefully alleviate some of their pain for a longer, pleasant future. I am very excited as I move forward with my next three years in college because I will be learning about new diseases and further advances in the medical community, and hopefully, build upon them in my future.

Jennifer Munoz, a sophomore at Case Western Reserve University, shares her love of science as a biochemistry major and nutrition minor.

Being a Biochemistry major at Case Western Reserve University is very challenging, yet rewarding at the same time. It allows me to combine my love of both biology and chemistry, and I get to learn so many great things; which also encourages me to look forward to taking every required class no matter how challenging it may be.

One of the things I love most about taking science classes is connecting my lessons to the real world. For example, in organic chemistry we learn about reaction mechanisms and how organic molecules react with one another, how certain medicinal drugs are synthesized, how the specific structure of a molecule gives the spicy flavor in chili peppers, and depending on whether a molecule has a single, double, or triple bond how it will react. Learning how the world works in the classroom is phenomenal.

I also absolutely love the lab component of organic chemistry! We apply the concepts we learn during lectures in an actual lab setting. We think critically about how the reactants will react with each other and which products are produced. One of my favorite labs this semester was synthesizing azo dyes. Every student was assigned a modified aniline compound and an azonium salt. With all the different combinations possible, the lab was filled with almost every shade of the rainbow!

I am also a part of Alpha Chi Sigma, the only professional chemistry fraternity. It is a great community to be a part of because we volunteer at different elementary schools and events. We spread the appreciation for chemistry by promoting events such as Science Olympiad, which allows kids to be enthusiastic scientists!

When I graduate I want to attend medical school and learn even more about how the human body works. After that, I would love to help people lead longer and healthier lives!