Claire Townsend, B.S. 1999

Consultant Epidemiologist, World Health Organization – Geneva, Switzerland

1999 Major: Biology

How has being a Biology graduate from Duke helped shape you personally and/or professionally?

"It gave me the tools I needed to pursue a scientific career."

What advice would you give students in Duke's Biology programs? 

"Spend some time looking at what jobs are available. I felt that the main option for a biology graduate was working in a lab, but in fact there are many more variations and options... you can work in academia or the pharmaceutical industry, you can teach, or you can apply your scientific and problem solving skills to another field. A biology degree can serve as a sound basis for transitioning to a related area, for example human sciences. In my case, it was only after I graduated that I heard about public health and epidemiology. I then went on to do a Master's and a PhD, and now I work as an epidemiologist, which I love!"

Claire Townsend