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What advice would you give a highschool student that waants to major in biotechnology?

I am a sophomore in highschool and is looking for help deciding if biotechnology is the right major for me.

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Siddhartha’s Answer

Hi Angela,

It's great to know that you're considering to major in Biotechnology. I work in the Life Sciences and Genomics industry and most I like about this field is how I am able to impact patient lives and enable cutting edge scientific research, such as, understanding cancer and monitoring and treating infectious disease.

Biotechnology will give you an interdisciplinary perspective - It combines theories and concepts in natural sciences and engineering and applies these to solve real-world challenges.

As far as career, there are many opportunities as this is a high-growth industry. A Biotechnology degree may lead to employment in a variety of areas. A few career paths include the following:

Biomedical Engineer
A Biomedical Engineer is responsible for investigating the engineering aspects of biological processes in living organisms, and for designing and developing software and hardware solutions for medical applications. Checkout Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) - a professional Society for students, researchers, and industry professionals in biomedical engineering.

Biochemist
Biochemists study the chemical principles of living organisms. A Biochemist may research the genetic mutations that lead to cancer, with the aim of understanding how medicine will alter that specific biological process.

Research Scientist
Medical Research Scientists investigate human disease and conduct research to develop and improve methods of prevention and treatment to improve human health. They may also work to understand and develop tools to detect, monitor and treat infectious diseases such as, HIV, Covid etc.

Some more information and career options can be found here:
https://research.com/careers/biotechnology-careers


Hope this helps. Good luck with high school!
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Andhi’s Answer

It's great to hear that you're interested in studying biotechnology! Though its not my field but I do have a few pieces of advice for a high school student interested in pursuing this field:
1. Build a strong foundation: Focus on excelling in science and math courses, as they form the core of biotechnology. Understand concepts like biology, chemistry, and genetics, as they will provide you with a solid base for further studies.
2. Research different universities: Look into universities that offer strong biotechnology programs. Consider factors such as faculty expertise, research opportunities, industry connections, and any specialized areas that interest you.
3. Get involved in extracurricular activities: Participate in science clubs, research groups, or internships related to biotechnology. This hands-on experience will help you gain practical skills, develop critical thinking, and demonstrate your passion for the field.
4. Network with professionals: Attend career fairs, conferences, and workshops to connect with professionals working in biotechnology. They can offer insights into the industry, provide advice, and potentially open doors to internship or research opportunities.
5. Seek guidance from mentors: Reach out to teachers, professors, or professionals who can mentor you in your biotechnology journey. They can provide guidance, recommend resources, and help shape your academic and career goals.
6. Stay updated on advancements: Biotechnology is a rapidly evolving field. Stay abreast of the latest research, breakthroughs, and technological advancements by following scientific journals, attending webinars, and joining relevant online communities.
7. Pursue research opportunities: Find opportunities to work in research labs, either through internships or volunteering. Research experience can enhance your understanding, boost your resume, and open doors to further academic or job prospects.
8. Develop strong communication skills: Biotechnology involves collaboration, both within scientific communities and with non-scientists. Focus on developing your oral and written communication skills, as they will be invaluable in presenting your research findings, writing reports, and effectively engaging with others.
Remember, pursuing a career in biotechnology requires dedication and a passion for scientific discovery. It may also involve continuous learning and adaptation to new technologies and innovations. Trust in your abilities, stay determined, and seek out opportunities to grow. You've got this!
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