Adriana Guzman Holst

2014 Major: Biology; Minor: Environmental Science & Policy

Currently: GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals, LATAM — Republic of Panama

How has being a Biology graduate from Duke helped shape your professional success?

"Fulfilling the BSc Biology curriculum prepared me enormously to understand and apply scientific methods, analysis techniques, and writing papers. I was prepared to tackle the next level of academia (finished my masters, will start my PhD) and dive into the world of independent research. The laboratory courses and seminars were key to help me shape my techniques and my critical analysis and public speaking. For example, my microbiology course at Duke led to my pursuit of an independent senior thesis in the Microbiology department AND sparked my interest in the field of Public Health Epidemiology/Infectious Disease (which is what I work in now). I am currently working at a top tier pharma company, GSK, which values my Duke education and constantly puts to use the skills that I gained during my undergraduate. After Duke, I was ready to deal with the challenges and novelties of the scientific world and research."

What advice would you give students in Biology?

"If you are majoring in Biology, definitely do the BSc track and not the BA because the differing courses make a difference in the types of methods and thinking you learn. Additionally, consider doing a senior independent project because this is what makes you stand out from a typical BSc. The knowledge and applied learning skills you learn during an independent project, are invaluable and largely complement lectures and laboratory learning. After graduation, don't blind yourself to solely continue an academic path (yes, do apply to graduate programmes), but also keep an open mind for other science and tech companies (private, governmental, non-profit). These places have multiple fundings sources to continue research which could then lead to graduate thesis projects."