Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Leslie Richardson
Occupation: Optics Research
Education (UR and additional): UR: BS 2007 BCS, BA 2007 Linguistics, Simon: MsBA 2011 Marketing
Current city/state/country of residence: Rochester, NY
When and how did you choose your major(s)?
My freshman year, I really took advantage of U of R’s limited academic requirements (outside of your declared major), and took classes in everything from religion, to astronomy, to philosophy, and BCS. I took BCS110 in the fall, and fell in love with the subject. I decided that semester I wanted to major in it. I loved how BCS taught you aspects of both psychology and neuroscience, and how it had links to so many other growing fields from linguistics to marketing. (Both of which I ended up getting degrees in as well.)
What resources did you use on campus that you would recommend current students use?
The Career Center is a fantastic resource that I used, but not enough. I couldn’t recommend them strongly enough, especially Amber Graham.
What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take this path?
Immediately after graduation, I was offered a full-time position in a BCS lab I had been working in part-time. I knew I wanted to stay in research, and was also offered a position in labs at a few other universities around the country. I stayed in Rochester because the research was fascinating, because I still had friends here, and because the cost of living could not be beat. I grew to love Rochester, especially in the summer when there are so many festivals and events going on. I am still in research, still working in the BCS department, but now in a different lab that studies advanced optics.
Where would you like to be in five years?
I have recently completed a graduate degree in marketing from the Simon School, and would like to utilize my cognitive science background with my new marketing experiences and work in market research. There is a growing interest in combining the fields, and it is definitely an exciting time to be a part of it all.
How you are still connected with the University?
I still work in the BCS department, specifically the Center for Visual Sciences. I am still on campus nearly every day. There are many changes and improvements (Danforth and the Pit come to mind first) as well as many things that are still the same. Despite graduating over 5 years ago, the university still feels like home.
What advice do you have for current students?
Go to as many things as you can! When I was here we were fortunate enough to get amazing speakers like Dr. Maya Angelou, and Anderson Cooper. There are countless activities and events that go on around campus that you won’t get a chance to experience later. Also take advantage of the freedom you have to read and study as much as you can on what interests you. Never again will you have this combination of freedom and ability to focus on exactly what you want to do.