Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Kyeesha Becoats

becoatsName: Kyeesha Tamique Becoats

UR Major:  Biology

UR Minors: American Sign Language

Additional Education: Masters of Science: Physiology and Biophysics

Current City, State of Residence: Stony Brook, NY

Job Title: Student

Employer: Stony Brook University School of Medicine

Family: Long term relationship, no children

Community Activities: Mentorship and Health Outreach through Student National Medical Association

How did you choose your major(s)?

I have always been interested in the human body and the way it works so it was natural for me to go into biology. I was also very interested in learning about other languages and cultures; I would have majored in American Sign Language if I had more time in the day. I choose my major and minor by going after subjects that interested me and that I wanted to know more about. One thing I enjoyed about attending U of R is that I could jump right into any subject I was interested in learning about and have a great experience.

Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

One of my greatest mentors and supporters was Michelle Bonville who is an administrator in the Pediatrics department at Strong Memorial Hospital. I worked for her and other administrators from sophomore year until I graduated in 2007. Michelle was so inspiring and supportive of me throughout college and into my years of working. We do still keep in touch; I visit and email her from time to time. One thing that Michelle said to me when I was graduating that has always stuck with me was “Your education and your degree is one thing that no one can ever take from you.”

What are some specific skills students should develop during an internship?

There are a few skills students should learn from any internship.  1) Learning how to take constructive criticism and using it to enhance your work in any field. 2) Learning how to work both independently and in teams. 3) Learning what you want in a mentor and what you don’t want. Mentorship is very important; very few people gain success completely on their own. So if you find a mentor early on it can help guide you to achieving your goals.

What is your opinion regarding graduate school vs. working right after graduation?

Deciding on whether to work or continue with your education is a very personal decision and is dependent on the goals of the student. I decided to work right after graduating because I personally needed time to grow confidence in my abilities and mature before I went on to graduate school and eventually medical school. If the student feels ready to continue on immediately with school after graduating I don’t feel like it is negative, unless your field requires you to have a certain amount of experience before you enter school. 

What was your first job after graduation? What college experiences prepared or qualified you for that position?

My first job after graduating was at the University of Rochester Medical Center where I worked in the neuro-anatomy lab of Dr. Julie Fudge as research technician. My degree in biology, especially the laboratory classes that taught laboratory techniques, definitely prepared me for my position.  However, I did not know everything that was necessary for this position. Being honest and open to learning helped me to develop skills that I still use today.