Archive for June, 2018

Sader Summer Scoop: Fiona Busser ’19

Monday, June 25th, 2018

 

Have you ever thought about how you can make the most out of your summer breaks during college? Throughout the summer, we will be highlighting current Holy Cross students in our “Sader Summer Scoop” series to show some of the great summer opportunities students take advantage of. Whether they spend a few weeks in a foreign country during a Maymester program, do research with a member of our faculty, or have an internship in their future field, Crusaders are able to further their education in a variety of ways. To kick off our summer series, Fiona Busser ’19 gives us insight into the Weiss Summer Research Program in the Genetics Lab!

 

 

 

Name: Fiona Busser

Major/Minor/Concentration: Biology Major/Philosophy Minor/Pre-med track

Graduation Year: 2019

What are you doing this summer?: Research

 

 

 

 

 

What exactly are you doing?: I am participating in the Weiss Summer Research Program in the Genetics lab of Prof. Geoff Findlay of the Biology Department. I work in our lab on the first floor of O’Neil Hall. We as a lab work with the model organism Drosophila melanogaster (fruit flies) and specifically study the genetics and reproduction of this species. My project investigates a highly conserved gene called Enkurin in order to characterize its function and role in reproduction.

How did you hear about this opportunity?: I knew as an incoming student that involvement in research as an undergraduate student is a benefit that comes along with Holy Cross being a purely undergraduate institution. As I progressed further in my studies within the Biology department, I began to then hear more and more about the research labs and the Weiss Summer research program here at Holy Cross. I then began working in this particular lab the past semester and was then fortunate to continue my work this summer.

What are you most excited about doing within this program?: I am really excited about the amount of time that I have to make a lot of progress on my project. It is always rewarding when we make a breakthrough in the project that moves us along to the next step, or teaches us something new. Having nine weeks to focus on research and learn new procedures and techniques is a huge benefit so that once the school year begins again I will have new skills that will allow me to continue working at a pace that will result in a fair amount of progress being made. I am also excited to learn more about what other labs work on, wither through faculty presentations or from talking with the many other students that are on campus performing various types of research—both in the sciences and in other disciplines.

What are you hoping to gain from your experience?: I hope to not only gain more experience in a laboratory setting, but I also hope to gain a better sense of the collaborative nature of science. By working with both professors and other students, as well as working in conjunction with a lab at UMASS Medical School where my specific project originated, I hope to fully appreciate how the scientific process is dynamic, collaborative, and a well-rounded educational experience. I believe that through the summer research program I can bolster the ways in which I articulate my project, as well as present myself to different audiences all while learning so much from others.

Do you have any advice for prospective students thinking about doing research?: Don’t be afraid to approach professors early on! If you are interested in a particular field of interest that a certain professor specializes in or works on, feel free to go and speak to them about what they do. Not only do they appreciate when students are interested in learning more about particular topics outside of the classroom, but showing an interest and following that up with conversation and certain courses can readily turn into a research position, either during the summer or also during the regular academic year.

When you were in high school, did you expect to have this opportunity in college?: I did not expect to have such a great opportunity as performing such interesting and involved genetics research as an undergrad when I was back in high school. I was not even sure if research was something that I would enjoy, or even want to try. I am so grateful for the opportunities at Holy Cross to expand my learning and to try things that I never expected as now I cannot imagine finishing my biology education without the research I am currently participating in.

Advice on being a Double Major

Friday, June 1st, 2018

Double major=more work. Right? Actually, no, wrong.

As a tour guide, one of the most common question I get is “what is it like to double major? Is it hard?” I actually kind of chuckle every time someone asks me this because it reminds me how inaccurately double majoring is viewed.

Let’s break it down. Students at Holy Cross take 32 courses (each course is one credit) in order to graduate. A typical major is anywhere between 10 and 14 courses. So, if you have ONE major, you take 10-14 courses for that major, and the rest of your credits are filled with other classes—whether it be a minor, a concentration, or just a bunch of random classes!

If you have TWO majors, then you take 10-14 courses for one of your majors, AND another 10-14 courses for your other major. It’s really that simple. You do not need to take more than 32 courses in order to double major. The only difference is, you are taking more courses geared towards one major.

In regards to school work, you don’t have MORE work just because you have two majors. Often, majors require a higher level course in order to complete the major, whether it is a 300 level seminar, or a 400 level independent study course. This means that with two majors, you would have to take TWO of these higher level courses, one for each major.

SO, having two majors doesn’t necessarily mean more work. It means you have another field of study you are interested in addition to your other major. In terms of schoolwork, you would be taking one or two more higher level courses that you wouldn’t necessarily have to take if you just had one major. So when it comes down to it, a double major is really an addition of one or two more higher level courses to your class schedule.

After reading all of that you’re problem thinking why double major then? I’ll admit, double majoring is not for everyone. Some students know they only want to student one thing and one thing only. With me, I have multiple interests when it comes to academics. In fact, I wish I could triple or quadruple major but that’s just not an option. Students typically double majoring when they have more than one interest and want to study more than one thing.

On a more personal note, one of my favorite things about double majoring is seeing how my two areas of study, art history and sociology, overlap. And surprisingly, they do. When you double major, you’ll find a lot of interconnectedness within your courses, which help you grasp a better understanding as to how the world works. Another great aspect of double majoring is that you have two advisors, one from each major department. This is a great feature because you will have multiple amazing faculty resources!

In conclusion, double majoring only means you take courses geared to two specific academic areas instead of just one. It doesn’t mean more work and it doesn’t mean harder courses. In fact, I actually encourage underclassmen to take a wide variety of courses their first and second years to see if they find multiple disciplines they’re interested in and can double major in!

If you’d like to learn more about double majoring or any of our academic programs in general, visit our website at: https://www.holycross.edu/liberal-arts-and-jesuit-education/majors-minors-concentrations