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Alumni Spotlight: Chelsea Russ

The Center for Biology and Society recently caught up with Chelsea Russ, a 2010 BS in Biology with a concentration in Biology and Society who is currently a Healthcare Analyst with the Health Services Advisory Group (HSAG) in Phoenix.

How did your degree in Biology & Society impact your career?
The courses I took for Biology & Society really helped me focus my career goals and ultimately guided me in my career path. It showed me that a biology degree offered many career options and that not all biology students need to end up working in a lab or becoming a doctor if that is not your thing. After my degree in Biology and Society I ended up getting my Masters in Public Health with a focus in epidemiology. My coursework in Biology and Society introduced me to the field of epidemiology and the fact that an epidemiology focused Master’s program even existed. Not only was my undergraduate degree in Biology and Society a great stepping stone to my graduate degree, but it provided a wonderful foundation for my career. My career now perfectly marries science and society. I work on a National hospital survey that collects patient perspectives about the quality of care they received in the hospital. The program’s goals are to improve quality of care and better inform the public about the hospitals in their area.

What do you consider to be the benefits of a degree in Biology & Society?
I think the main benefit of a degree in Biology and Society is that it shows students how vast the application of biology and science can be and how it can be utilized to help change the world for the better. I believe the program instills a strong motivation and passion in students. I not only learned the application of biology in society from the coursework, but it motivated me to embrace my interests and use them to help others, even if it was in the smallest way. The professors were topnotch and were the ones to motivate and empower students in their interests and learning.

What advice do you have for someone seeking a degree in Biology & Society?
My advice for someone seeking a degree in Biology and Society is to look at all the courses available to you and find the ones that interest you. If you have already refined your interests into a category such as infectious diseases, environmental health or chronic disease, you can create a focused track of coursework for yourself. Conversely, if you don’t have a specific interest yet, then take a whole variety of classes! Do what interests and motivates you and makes you passionate. Finally, (and this is a big one that I wish I did more) utilize your professors when trying to make decisions about what you will do after you graduate. Ask your professors questions about graduate programs, research, careers. Ask them all the questions! This is why they have office hours.

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