Keck Science Department Overview

Hi all! Today I’m here to talk about my experience so far as a STEM major through the Keck Science Department. First, for those who don’t know, the W.M. Keck Science Department is the joint science department that includes Scripps College, Pitzer College, and Claremont McKenna College. Like it says on the Keck Science website, Keck Science includes three colleges and 15 majors under one combined science department.

My first introduction to Keck was with the Summer Science Immersion Program (SScIP). The program happens a week before orientation and is for students that are first-gen, belong to traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM, and students from under-resourced high schools. The program is a great intro into college-level science classes and helps you practice lab skills, introduces you to different Keck professors, and is a great way to meet other first-years interested in science! I met some of my best friends through SScIP and it helped me become way more confident in my science classes.

The director of SScIP, Dr. Marion Preest, was so supportive to me and the rest of my SScIP cohort. She is still one of my favorite Keck professors and she’s actually a professor within my major! Speaking of professors, I really love how Keck professors are so willing to meet with students, include them in their research, and overall be mentors to students going into careers in STEM fields. Other than Dr. Preest, I also have been really inspired by Dr. Donald McFarlane. I am currently taking Research Tools in Organismal Biology with him and his work has gotten me interested in doing research with him at some point during my college career.

Since the Claremont Colleges are relatively small, doing research with professors is not as competitive as I would imagine it would be at a larger university. I have two friends currently doing research with Keck professors and all they had to do was either go to that professor’s office hours or email them and ask if there’s space in their lab. In both of their cases, the professors let them join the lab and they’re having the best time!

Going into Scripps, I knew I wanted to be a Biology major, but I knew I wanted to somehow focus more on animals. Then last spring, I found out that my Intro Bio lab TA was an Organismal Biology major who was interested in pre-vet just like me! From that moment on I switched my focus to the Organismal Biology major, which concentrates more on living beings versus the larger scope of biology (ex. microbiology, cell biology, biochemistry, etc.).

Finally, I would also like to add that I’m on the pre-veterinary track. It’s not as popular as the pre-med track, but it’s a nice little community of people I can connect with about animals. Pre-health in general is super cool because you don’t even have to be a STEM major in order to be on a pre-health track! All you need to do to be on the pre-health track is take the classes that fulfill the pre-requisites for medical school, dental school, or veterinary school! Keck has a pre-health advisor named Susie Fang who sends weekly newsletters to the pre-health community about opportunities, meets with students who need advice on resumes, classes to take, medical school applications, and answers any other pre-health related questions.

If you have any more questions about Keck or pre-health, feel free to email me at [email protected]!