‘I knew this would be a special opportunity’

From the structure of cells to the complex relationships between people and the planet, the NDSU biological sciences department offers a diverse program for students who want to explore the life sciences.

For Elena Linster, studying biological science at NDSU created a passion for medicine.

“When I came to NDSU, I was planning to partake in the five-year accelerated bachelor’s and master’s program. I wanted to be a professor, wanted to do research, wanted to teach,” said the senior from Fargo, North Dakota. “And then I came across a class that ignited a spark to take care of patients and work with people and try to make them feel better.”

The biological science program offers emphases in biomedical science, ecology and conservation science and environmental science. The major’s diverse range of programming prepares students for careers as medical doctors, dentists, naturalists, researchers and more.

“We really focus on student-centered courses that engage students in the material and support them in their learning,” said Julia Bowsher, professor and department chair. “Our classes teach many skills in addition to content knowledge in biology. Students learn how to work collaboratively with peers, and they learn how to communicate technical scientific content to people who are not scientists. They learn how to evaluate scientific claims made in the public press and how to interpret the data behind those claims. These skills are important for life after college, regardless of career choice.”

Students in the biological sciences department are encouraged to extend their learning outside the classroom through research, internships and student organizations. These opportunities enhance the hands-on learning students experience in the classroom.

Linster works with Katie Reindl, associate professor of biological sciences, studying pancreatic cancer cells. She’s already seen the benefits of research in her studies.

“The entire process of being in a cell biology lab really brings the classroom to life,” she said. “The experience you get is so different than what you could read in a textbook or watch in a video. It’s hands-on and you use the knowledge you have to problem solve and figure out what’s going right and what’s going wrong.”

In her college search, Linster connected with an NDSU biological science graduate who told her the program and the faculty were some of the best at the university. This solidified Linster’s decision to attend NDSU.

“I love the faculty, their way of teaching and their dedication to their craft,” she said. “I knew that, regardless of where I went, I would get the experience that I want. I would work for it wherever I was. But I was certain I would have a community at NDSU, and I would have people to support me. I knew this would be a special opportunity and I’ve loved it since the beginning.”

Begin building your NDSU community and apply today.

To learn more about Elena and her NDSU experience, visit the official university YouTube channel.