Alexander Stine

2014 Major: Biology and Psychology

Currently: Duke University, Cognitive Neuroscience Program

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

"My biology degree and coursework helped me develop an excellent understanding of genetics that facilitated my work on fascinating projects related to patient provider communication of genetic information. These projects were integral to my early development as a researcher and were key pieces of my application to PhD programs. I am now in Duke's cognitive neuroscience program, and while my research is based in psychology, my understanding of genetics and general human biology is helping me shape a unique research path that incorporates clinical psychology, cognitive neuroscience, metabolism, and macronutrient biochemistry."

What advice would you give students in Biology?

"I would strongly recommend taking courses that analyze the problems that you are interested in at a higher level. Taking courses in biology, neuroscience, and psychology helped me think about the obesity epidemic from a myriad of angles; it was has been crucial for my development as a researcher and young professional.

"If you are interested in healthcare — take courses in global health, public policy, and Dr. Bennett's course on health communications. It'll challenge you to think about healthcare in the US, or globally, from new and different perspectives. It will illuminate challenges that the world faces that might have never crossed your mind. This may spark new ideas, new interests, and even unique career paths.

"I have met countless biology majors that feel that med school is the only option, and many who feel confused when they determine that this isn't right for them. I was a biology major and was never pre-med, which let to many strange looks and questions of "so what are you doing with your life?" This goes back to my point above — take courses that analyze the issues at different levels, think about how you can influence the world of healthcare in a different career path — this might be research, consulting, tech etc. While it might not feel like it, there are countless opportunities for you to influence the health and lives of others without earning an MD."