Matt Janko

"When she first learned that I had an interest in focusing my studies in biochemistry, my future mentor Prof. Molly Fitzgerald-Hayes told me exactly what I wanted to hear. She explained that the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major would be a challenging and rewarding endeavor that would give me intellectual and professional growth opportunities, and it did.

Long hours sweating over experimental error with classmates during Prof. Sommerfeld's analytical chemistry lab helped me learn how to work with a team to accomplish a lab-based goal. My struggle to understand Maxwell-Boltzmann statistics in Prof. Gross's physical chemistry lecture forced me to think in a completely different way. Despite the initial frustration with the different dynamics in chemistry, these courses better prepared me for my job teaching chemistry after graduation. I also appreciated the presentations and discussions during Prof. Fitzgerald-Hayes's seminars and employed the skills acquired in that course repeatedly while in a research lab for the past year. Currently as a medical student the most important classes that I took in biochemistry were the advanced lectures with Prof. Garman where I appreciated how molecular structure impacts functional biology, as in the case of DNA, protein and energy metabolisms. This experience was one of the highlights of my academic career so far. I would encourage all students interested in biological sciences or chemical biology to channel and amplify their individual motivations and challenge themselves by participating in the BMB major. My professors, the awesome staff (Hi Carol!) and my fellow students reinforced me along the way and I am still in touch with many people from my small class who are now working and continuing their studies. Plus, the food at the Biochem Club's end-of-year social events is pretty good, too."

2014 M.D. Candidate, UMass Medical School
2008 BMB and Psychology (Neuroscience), Commonwealth College UMass Amherst Graduate