Ben Paronich

As a nontraditional student in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology department I have felt welcomed into a new community of scholars since arriving at UMass.  After serving five years in the military I decided it was time to continue my education.  During my time in the military I served with both a Marine Corps infantry unit and in a Traumatic Brain Injury Clinic. The BMB major has both been challenging and accessible throughout my time here, despite my large lapse in continuing my education.

In addition to being a Biochemistry & Molecular Biology major I also work both on and off campus.  On campus I work with the Veteran Services department to assist other veterans with their application and transition to full time students.  The stark differences between the strictly regimented lifestyle of the military and the college environment can be somewhat challenging, and Veteran Services aims to make that transition as easy as possible for all students.  Throughout the application process service members are often times still actively serving so the assistance our office provides can be instrumental in making the college application process less overwhelming and more accessible.

When I’m not campus, I am typically off campus working at Baystate Medical Center Emergency Department as an Emergency Department Technician.  This position has allowed me to continue working in patient care as I did as a Hospital Corpsman throughout my time in the military.  Additionally, my biochemistry knowledge has allowed me to have a greater depth of understanding of the tests I am conducting.  Some of my daily tasks include drawing blood and conducting tests on patient urine both of which require biochemistry to understand how the tests actually work, and what specific biomolecules are being tested.  The Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major has helped me to not only further my current knowledge, but also prepare me for my future.