Keep Your Options Open: Video Transcript

Melanie Krook (BA Biochemistry and French, Miami, 2011) [Post Doctoral Researcher, The Ohio State University]: I majored in Biochemistry and French, which are very different majors, however both of them probably have some significant meaning to myself. So French — my mom is from France, and so I grew up bilingual, and so continuing with French was very important to me. And biochemistry — my parents are both in the sciences, so I have had a love for science at a very, very young age.

But to be honest, I guess I didn't know exactly what I wanted to do with that degree in science. And so pursuing a degree in biochemistry and chemistry here at Miami really launched what I wanted to do long-term, which ultimately ended up being receiving a PhD in cancer biology from the University of Michigan. My experiences here at Miami really opened the door to learning about new possible avenues. We had a CHM 147 course, which is a chemistry course, a seminar series, once a week for an hour that brought in a variety of people with chemistry or biochemistry degrees, so that as a freshman you could understand and learn what the possible avenues are for Biochemistry and Chemistry majors.

As a sophomore at Miami University, I started undergraduate research in the Biochemistry and Chemistry department. And I think that is what launched my passion in the sciences, and what has allowed me to become where I am today.

My husband and I are Miami mergers, and we actually met in a biochemistry lab. I was an undergrad doing biochemistry research, and he was a graduate student conducting his PhD. And we like to tell everyone we met and fell in love over tannins, because we were conducting tannin research.

I think a potential career path for majors in the field of biochemistry is truly endless, and that's what I've experienced thus far. I have transitioned from a focus in chemistry and biochemistry to studying cancer research, and I think studying cancer research takes aspects of the chemistry and biochemistry fields, however it really broadens your horizon. I feel that experience in biochemistry and chemistry has really set the foundation for my cancer research experience, and so taking those degrees has really tremendously impacted where I can go in the future of studying cancer research, having a global world health impact, and trying to ultimately find a cure for cancer.

My advice for any freshmen coming into Miami University that is interested in majoring in chemistry or biochemistry is keep your options open. Don't force yourself to go down one specific path. Be open to something new, new adventures. When I came to Miami University, I had the intention of going to medical school. I was premed, and that is what I thought I was going to do. However, during my sophomore year here at Miami, I started undergraduate research, and within a couple months, I realized that is where my passion lied. I loved coming into lab. I would came in early in the morning. Every chance I had to come in between classes, I was in the lab doing research. And I think had I been so focused on being pre-med and going to med school I would have truly missed the opportunities that lie in research, and I would have missed finding my passion.

Your time here at Miami is precious. Live in the moment, experience life, try new things, meet new friends, and have a great time.

[October 2015]