Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Kimberly Herman
UR Major: Biology
Other UR Majors/Minors: Russian Language
Additional Education: Ph.D in Toxicology, in Progress
Current City, State of Residence: Raleigh, NC
Job Title: Graduate Research Assistant
Employer: North Carolina State University
How did you choose your major(s)?
Choosing a major came easily to me. As someone who wanted to pursue an education in science research, biology was an easy choice as it gave me a broad background in science. I also chose to study Russian language, as I was very fond of languages and wanted to pursue one that many people were less familiar with.
What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?
I think this is a very personal choice. I think if you are able to go straight through graduate school right after graduation that is great, as you are able to get to your end goal faster. However, taking a break and working in between allows you to recharge after college as well as bring in some diverse skills that you acquire from a job and might not learn from books alone.
What was your first job after graduation? What college experiences prepared or qualified you for that position?
Upon graduating from the University of Rochester, I took a cancer clinical research position at the University of Rochester Medical Center. At this job, I worked closely with patients who had cancer and monitored their health and progress while being treated with chemotherapy agents. This was a good starter position for me. My background in biology and anatomy/physiology as well as my student work experience in clinical research offices helped prepare me for this position.
What early career advice can you give to current UR students studying biology?
My biggest suggestion is to find a volunteer position or a student work position in a lab or in the clinical setting depending on which you want to work in. Getting into graduate school or finding a job are both very competitive fields and all the extra experience you can gain during college will be a great benefit. Take advantage of the fact that URMC is right next door and make some connections there.
What do you do now and why did you choose this career? Where would you like to be in five years?
Currently I am working on my PhD in toxicology. While working in cancer clinical research after college, I decided that being on the treatment end of science was not where I wanted to be, instead I wanted to be at the bench helping discover new or better treatment options for patients. Hopefully in five years I will have finished my PhD and be finishing up my postdoctoral position and finding a faculty position in toxicology.