Growing up, Pooja Ravi ‘22 was invested in learning more about alternative therapies and treatments of diseases, clinging to the hope of one day being able to make a difference in the world one patient at a time. “It really catalyzed my desire to go into medicine from a young age,” says Pooja.
What made all the difference for Pooja in choosing Stevenson’s Biology program was the emphasis on research alongside early exposure in the field. Her fair share of research experiences during her tenure at SU is a testament to the university’s career-oriented approach to education. Starting her freshman year, Pooja worked in the Agricultural Research Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture, assisting with a project on protein separation from soybean seeds, as well as working with various biochemical machinery, ranging from NIR and GC to RAMAN. Thereafter, she aided in an internship within the Food and Drug Administration where she studied vaccine development and the immunogenicity of two separate viruses, Rotavirus and Norovirus. “I intend to pursue another research opportunity this fall, beneath a faculty member on campus, Dr. Tucker, in her research of Lyme Disease and pathologies among several tick populations,” Pooja says.
In addition to her classroom studies and research experiences, Pooja was given the opportunity of a lifetime to engage in a clinical observation internship at the Velammal Hospital in Madurai, India. “The experience really piqued my interest in surgery and aided in introducing me to a variety of techniques and procedures I had only read of within textbooks,” says Pooja.
However, Pooja’s favorite part about her major is that you don’t have to travel far to get those types of lab and kinesthetic learning experiences: “Stevenson’s labs are developed in such a way that students have the flexibility to work together on investigating a research project, sometimes of their own choosing.” In the Biology program, she and her peers also get to go outdoors for labs incorporating ecology or epidemiology of various species. “It’s always an exciting experience to identify and experiment with problem-solving techniques for modern issues, and visualize many everyday things through an engaged, scientific perspective,” Pooja says.
Another facet of her Stevenson experience that has undeniably helped Pooja’s sense of career preparation is the Pre-Health advising. From the start of her undergraduate curriculum, Pooja received guidance from SU’s Pre-Health experts to ease her into incorporating the necessary steps it would take to promote her matriculation to medical school.
Above all, Pooja holds a certain sentiment for the field of biology close to her heart: “If there’s one thing biology as a whole has shown me, it’s the capacity to perceive most, if not all, problems as potentially solvable. The perseverance of one’s mind is truly great, but having the comprehension and fortitude to work alongside it, is even greater.”