This May, the School of Integrative Biology celebrated the achievements of our graduating class of 2019! We join your family and friends in congratulating you on your accomplishments, and we hope you keep in touch with us as you take the next steps in your journey!
One of our graduating seniors, Daniel Garza, shared his thoughts on his time with SIB.
What do you value the most from your experience with SIB?
I value the diversity in education and training I received. From building phylogenies based on genomic data to crafting an essay in science communication, SIB offers courses and training in everything a science-oriented career could need. The truly well-rounded education offered by the School of Integrative Biology creates an academic community centered on unique career paths.
What was one of the most important lessons you learned from SIB?
To always be curious and to always seek out answers!
What is something you wish incoming students knew about IB? Do you have any advice for them?
Something that every incoming SIB student should know about is the various career paths you can pursue with a degree in integrative biology. You can build your major through electives to be as specific or as broad as you would like.
One piece of advice that a professor told me (freshman year!) that has stuck with me is to take the courses that sounds interesting to you, not just the ones that your pre-med or pre-grad school advisor told you to take. You never know where unique courses and world views will take you; it may end up becoming your passion.
How do you feel SIB has prepared you for the next step in your career journey?
SIB has prepared me extremely well for the next steps in my career. Crafting logical and evidence-based arguments will be of paramount importance to me as a future attorney. Additionally, the ability to write coherently and concisely in the presentation of an argument is a skill taught to all SIB students, and that ability is critical to any career path, regardless of the field.
What was one of the most valuable things you gained from SIB?
There are many aspects of my education under the School of Integrative Biology that will stick with me for life, but most of all is the ability to have fun while learning and creating scientific discoveries. The passion and personal nature of the SIB creates an environment where students are encouraged to grow both personally and professionally. Good natured professors are abundant in the SIB and the welcoming and fun environment that they help to create promotes science and learning while reducing the stress and anxiety normally associated with the college experience.
Do you have any professors or instructors that made SIB particularly memorable for you? What kind of impact did they have on your college experience?
Professors Suarez, Berlocher, and Cheng all provided lasting memories for not only myself but almost everyone who comes into their classrooms. Each created a classroom where topics were presented in a way that immediately caught your attention and made learning easy with such passionate and driven teaching. Where some of my friends in other majors dreaded attending classes, these 3 professors made attending class worthwhile and interesting.
One of my most unforgettable experiences came through working in Dr. Suarez’s lab. The lab was awarded the opportunity to perform research with the particle accelerator at Argonne National Laboratory. Filming x-ray footage of foaming ants, click beetles, and trap-jaw ants through the particle accelerator was one of the most rewarding experiences I had in college and it would not have possible without the Suarez lab and the School of Integrative Biology.
Where are you going after graduation and how did SIB prepare you for that?
I will be attending the University of Illinois College of Law aiming to specialize in biotech, pharmaceutical corporate law. The scientific background I gained from my degree will be a considerable advantage as I enter this field. Science-based degrees are at the forefront of the job market and SIB prepares its students for all career paths through their well-rounded and research-based curriculum.