Q & A with Kareem Woods
My decision to study biology is primarily based on my interest in the living world. I've always been fascinated by the interconnectedness of life and how we live and adapt along with other organisms.
When did you decide you wanted to study biology?
My decision to study biology is primarily based on my interest in the living world. I've always been fascinated by the interconnectedness of life and how we live and adapt along with other organisms. Biology also provides you with a unique opportunity to help better the lives of others whether that's through the practice of medicine or research.
What was your favorite class that you took in your major? And why?
My favorite class I've taken so far was microbiology. One of the most intriguing sections of microbiology was learning about the innate immune system and the acquired immune system as well as artificial immunity and natural immunity. It was good timing to learn about these topics during the pandemic. It gave me a better understanding of what role vaccines play in the overall immune system of people and how to better inform my peers and family about the benefit of receiving them compared to naturally contracting a virus.
Who was your favorite professor in your major? And why?
My favorite professor was Dr. Tricia Hardt Smith. I always looked forward to her classes because she taught cellular biology with so much energy and passion. Dr. Smith always uses real world examples to help students better understand whatever topic they’re learning at the time. One thing I really enjoyed is when she talked about her research. You could tell she is passionate about her research and truly believes in her work. That’s one of the reasons why I pushed myself to get more exposure to research because I was inspired by seeing how much Dr. Smith enjoyed it.
Can you tell us about any research projects you participated in?
I'm currently an Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) scholar in the Pharmacology & Toxicology Department at MCV. As an IMSD scholar, I’m mentored by a current graduate student as well as others in the lab, including the Principal Investigator. By interacting with these people, I’ve learned what makes a good researcher. This opportunity helps students develop good skills not just for science but for life in general. These skills include time management, planning and public speaking. This opportunity has also allowed me to grow my network with like-minded individuals and develop a unique work ethic that I can take into any field. You also get to learn about your peers and appreciate the different backgrounds that make up the science world.
Why should students consider biology as a major?
Students should consider majoring in biology if you have any interest in living organisms or medicine. Also, if you're a naturally curious person, you should consider studying biology.