Results and Outcomes
The Biology program at SJU prepares students for a wide range of careers. The rigorous yet flexible curriculum provides appropriate training for students seeking admission to professional and graduate schools as well as those who wish to enter the job market directly following graduation. Our most recent data indicate that of the ca. 50 students graduating with a major in Biology each year, about half go to medical school or into allied health areas, 16% enter graduate school, 21% go into biology-related careers, and 2% go into science teaching. Biology majors have high success rates in entering professional schools, with acceptance rates averaging more than 75% over the past few years (national rate of acceptance into medical school is about 50%). Biology majors also receive paid fellowships to graduate schools nearby (e.g. the University of Pennsylvania and Temple University) as well as farther away (such as the University of Arizona and Texas Tech). Many students choose to get involved in the numerous enriching opportunities available, including faculty-mentored independent research, serving the department as paid teaching assistants, joining AIBS (the student-run Biology club), and doing science education outreach into Philadelphia K-12 classrooms.
A recent survey of all Biology alumni provided insight into longer term outcomes. Just over half (52%) are currently in health-related careers, 14% are in science and technology related jobs, 11% are in education and 6% are in school themselves; the rest are in a wide range of careers, include law, business, etc. Most Biology graduates further their education at some point: 79% of the respondents reported receiving degrees beyond the BS.
Biology alumni are also active in helping to mentor current students in numerous ways. Each year physicians return to SJU to give guest lectures in the Systemic Physiology course, sponsored by the Medical Alumni. This group also sponsors “Dinner with a Doc,” a chance for students interested in medicine to meet and speak with practicing physicians. Students interested in health care have shadowed alumni in trauma centers and pediatric cardiology centers, as well as in a variety of hospital and office situations. Alumni also annually provide internship opportunities for students in situations that include pharmaceutical companies and government laboratories.
SJU Biology alumni include Dr. Andrew von Eschenbach '63, former director of the National Cancer Institute and Commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (2005-2009) and Dr. Elisabeth Hagen '91, USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety."
Other notable alums include: Nick Nicolaides, '87 (president and CEO of Morphotek), Sheila E. Davis, D.O. ’83, executive medical director and cofounder of the St. Catherine Laboure Medical Clinic in the Germantown section of Philadelphia