Science Spotlight: Lab Technician
Considering a Science Major? Trying to decide what to do with your Science Major? Meet Rogelio Zimbron, Plant Biology major and UVM 2015 alum. Rogelio shares about his time at UVM, the importance of research, and how he found a job as a Lab Technician with Green Mountain Antibodies (GMA).
How did you decide on your Major?
I always loved Biology in high school and had a teacher who saw that. He encouraged me to participate in EPSCoR (Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research). That experience solidified it for me. Still, it wasn’t easy – I struggled during my first two years at UVM, specifically within my major. I really saw the knowledge gap between my high school and college. Ultimately, college biology taught me to think critically about findings and talk about them in a way anyone can understand.
Which experiences were pivotal for you?
I applied to my first lab position at UVM through the Student Employment Office to work on an experiment with a graduate student. I was also able to get a work-study position in a lab by asking a professor I knew if he needed help. Aside from working in a lab, I would recommend taking a lab skills course. I realized that I never took a class that lent itself to working in a lab. The skills I did learn really resonated with me when I entered a practical work setting. Then my education started to click.
Advice for Biology majors?
- Find opportunities that relate to your interests (lab work, field work, etc.). A great way to find them is to talk with people who are well connected such as professors. Talking with department chairs, emailing, or directly asking professors after classes are great tactics.
- Even someone doesn’t have an opportunity for you, they might know someone who does. You won’t know until you ask, don’t be afraid to fail.
- Summer internships: some companies don’t have a set timeline for when they will look for summer opportunities. If you find an organization you like, check to see if they’d be willing to take you on as an intern or volunteer.
Rogelio’s final piece of advice?
As far as career/life goals, people need to do things they really like to do.
The interview was edited for brevity.
Brian Park, Career Counselor for the Sciences