My Experience with Keck Science

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 a program 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 to 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 is now my advisor too! 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 Prof. Elise Ferree. I’ve taken Animal Behavior and Ornithology (study of birds). With my interest in animals, I really have loved learning more about different species and how they exist in their environments.


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 got my research opportunity just by connecting with Prof. Ferree who I previously mentioned. For the last 2 years, I’ve been helping her with her research on white-crowned sparrows here in Claremont. I never thought I’d get into research but I’m so grateful I have!


Going into Scripps, I knew I wanted to be a Biology major, but I knew I wanted to somehow focus more on animals. Then, 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 and she also 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]!