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Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Brett Palmero ’20

Brett Palmero ’20 is currently a neuroscience major and considering minoring in chemistry and, possibly, math. He is intrigued by the new major in biochemistry and molecular biology, and may reconsider his focus of study. Hear what Palmero has to say about the sciences and Lake Forest College, in general. 

Will you still major in neuroscience if you decide to pursue this new major?

“If I decide to pursue biochemistry and molecular biology, there is a lot of overlap with neuroscience, so I might just do a double major.”

Why did you choose Lake Forest College?

“When I came to campus on a visit, there was a little bit of snow on the ground, the sun was shining, and I was like, ‘This is it. This is the campus.’ And then I looked at the professors’ backgrounds and thought, ‘These people are well qualified. There are so many programs.’ During my first week, I realized this community is great. There’s even a beach nearby.”

When did you find out about the biochemistry and molecular biology major?

“I first found out about BMB when I saw the new major listed on the construction signs. I was like, ‘Oh, I could’ve done that.’ Initially, I was considering biochemistry as a self-designed major, which is another good thing Lake Forest College does, but then I was in Dr. DebBurman’s First-Year Studies class and I realized I liked neuroscience.”

What do you think about the new Lillard Science Center construction?

“I think we need it. We have so much merit to our labs and so many things we’ve been doing and there’s so much progress, that I think we should really represent it in our facilities, too.”

What are your career goals?

“At the moment, it’s pharmaceutical sciences. I’ll graduate from here with a good resume and a lot of lab time under my belt, so then I can work for a company for a couple of years and maybe have them sponsor my post-grad degree. That way, it’s financially stable and it’s a career I’m really interested in—involving all the mechanisms of the body. I’ve always had to choose between science and engineering, but learning about the mechanisms of the body is kind of like taking an engineering approach. I’ve just kind of found that niche.”

How is Lake Forest College helping you achieve these goals?

“There are just so many opportunities. I’m already in the lab doing all of this work and I am learning so much about what careers I can pursue and what those pathways entail. Also, another thing with Lake Forest: since it’s liberal arts, I’m not pigeon-holed in science. I can talk to English majors and art majors so I can broaden my horizons to get more perspectives on what I’m doing.” 

Tell us about this Richter experience and what kind of skills you’re gaining.

“Skills-wise, I am designing my own experiments and problem solving—that is the biggest part. I am seeing what happens in experiments and maybe even finding something new. As a Richter, I’m with peers who are interested in other things. There are politics and English majors doing their own projects and I can hear all about them. I can also be near Chicago and go into the city whenever I want. Overall, Richter is just a good experience and it keeps you busy, focused, and thinking in between semesters.”