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Kalamazoo College

Bryan Lara

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Anaheim, CA
Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Study Abroad:
Quito, Ecuador EE program
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor:
Blue moon
Best Adjective to Describe You:

In 15 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
It has incredible professors who truly care about your education and are a blast to talk to.

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
In high school, I had a great AP Biology teacher who inspired me to major in a science field. During my freshman and first half of my sophomore year, I was anticipating in doubling majoring in Biology and Chemistry. Throughout my time taking different chem and bio classes, I found myself more interested in chemistry while also enjoying biology with classes like Cell Molec. This realization made me choose Chemistry as my major and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology as my concentration. The classes I have taken to fulfill the requirements for my major and concentration is what has kept me invested. 

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Do not be hesitant to go and ask your professor for help or advice. They have office hours for just that reason. If office hours don’t work with your schedule, email them to schedule an appointment. I have found the most success in all my science classes when I have been able to talk to my professors about any questions/ concerns I have had during the class.

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
There are many professors who help support the student organizations I am involved with by doing something as simple as buying the StuOrg sweater. They have also come to the StuOrg’s event when we advertise it to them.

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
I have always a social person. However, at K, I have learned how to be social even in uncomfortable settings. I am better able to react to the unexpected. In the process of having conversations on difficult and hot topics, I have become better at communicating my ideas to others. I have never been an eloquent speaker or writer but my time at K has helped me to become one. I still have a very long way to go but I have become more confident in expressing my thoughts, whether I feel comfortable or not.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Music and Identity, a sophomore seminar, has been my favorite class I have taken at K. I became much more confident in my writing. I was able to learn so much more about different genres of music that I sort of knew about. I learned how to better express myself in this class. Most importantly, I loved learning about each subject in class and never felt like what I was doing was a chore or busy work.

What is your SIP?
I am currently assisting a professor at Cal State Fullerton in her study on Prader Willi Syndrome. We are running different assays to determine specific protein levels. I am focusing on the C-Reactive protein. This protein is linked to adiposity and inflammation in the human body. I am looking at how CRP levels are affected in children with PWS or obese children after partaking in a 6-month exercise program.

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
I will be taking a gap year to better prepare my application for medical school by volunteering in a hospital back home in California, hopefully working in a hospital’s lab assisting in analyzing blood and other bodily fluid samples, and studying for the MCAT. I hope to learn more about my growing interest in a lab setting throughout my gap year because I may also apply to some graduate school to continue my education in biochemistry instead. That is a very small possibility but I want to keep my options open. My long-term goal is working in the medical field to help improve the life of others, either directly as a physician or as a biochemists working in a lab setting.

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