Student Profiles

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Rachel Brown '21 (December)

Rachel Brown '21 (December)

What is your major?

Health Science

What is your intended profession?

Physical Therapist

Why did you choose to pursue this profession/career path? Why did you want to be a pre-health student?

I chose physical therapy to help people in accident recovery. To help ease their pain as much as I possibly can and to help them get back to active lifestyles so they can regain the strength to do the activities they enjoy.

Are you involved with any research/student organizations on campus? If yes, what has been your most memorable experience so far?

I completed my senior research last year, identifying the meal practices and weight status of Stetson students. Most memorable were the problems that arose when everything shifted to virtual and my group had to change our entire course of action. I am so grateful for my entire group and our supervisor, Dr. Ronette Lategan-Potgieter, who were all so helpful in the process.

What advice would you give other pre-health students at Stetson?

Enjoy your time here, because even if you feel stressed out now before you know it you'll be graduating and look back with nostalgia.

Christian Berberich '24

Christian Berberich '24

What is your major?

Biochemistry and Molecular and Cellular Biology

What is your intended profession?

Oral Surgeon

Why did you choose to pursue this profession/career path? Why did you want to be a pre-health student?

For me, healthcare is at the intersection between rigorous academia and providing a necessary service to humanity. Doctors and nurses in all fields spend years learning thousands of different biological systems and processes in the hopes of one day using that knowledge to help people cope in the real world with diseases, injuries, illnesses, and more. Monumental training is undertaken to make others' lives better. I see it as a noble pursuit: to give back and help others.

Are you involved with any research/student organizations on campus? If yes, what has been your most memorable experience so far?

I conduct research with Dr. Beckmann on the prevalence of different tick-borne diseases in a population of rodents in the midwest (he collected samples from there a few years ago). My most memorable experience was seeing the first gel electrophoresis I ran. To get to the gel electrophoresis stage, I ran multiple PCR amplifications for months. Although it was necessary to work, there was no real way to qualify what I was doing; I had no way of telling if I was doing a good job. I may have pipetted hundreds of samples, but if I was doing something wrong the whole time, there was no way for me to 'check' myself. With all this uncertainty in the back of my mind, I entered the lab to make the gel. I put the culmination of months of work under UV light and was dazzled by what I saw. There were distinct bands of illumination, indicating a positive result on many of the tested samples. I was elated; the dread of messing something up was now gone. I've since run tens of gels, each one confirming to myself that I can conduct research and can add to a field I'm passionate about. Moral of the story: don't let the fears of messing up stop you from achieving greatness.

What advice would you give other pre-health students at Stetson?

Get involved early and often at Stetson. It doesn't quite matter where. As a freshman, I emailed every professor I knew in the hopes of doing research. Luckily, Dr. Beckmann gave me a chance, and I have been working with him in the lab ever since. The experience and knowledge accrued go far beyond the classroom. Yes, the professor you research with is a mentor to learn from, but they are so much more. They are there to confide in when needed, to give advice when lost. They can and will help you get through the rigor which is a college education. I can't stress this enough, get your name out there and find your niche here at Stetson!