Q & A with Rahat Haque
I had a lot more flexibility with my science courses as an interdisciplinary science major with a professional science concentration. With my premed track classes, I was able to not only meet my prerequisites, but also take courses that I enjoyed.
Why did you decide to major in interdisciplinary science?
When I first started college, I knew I wanted to major in the sciences because I wanted to follow the premed track. However, I have always been interested in all forms of sciences like physical, life, earth, etc. I was fortunate to find this major, which combines all those interests.
What was your favorite class that you took in your major? And why?
My favorite course was my Intro BIOL 151 course. Even though I took this course my first semester here at VCU, it cemented my decision to pursue my studies in the sciences. I recall thinking about how much effort I'd have to put into school to get the grades and knowledge I desired. It was an eye-opening experience that set the tone for my future courses because the curriculum exceeded the pace and intensity of my high school classes. I recall going to class ready to learn as well as conceptualize processes and ideas. Professor Jonathan Moore did an excellent job with the course and helped me get from where I was as a naïve freshman to where I am now.
Who was your favorite professor in your major? And why?
Anyone who has had the pleasure of having Dr. Gevork Minaskanian can attest to the fact that he is not only a fantastic professor but also a wonderful person. It's not easy sitting through a two-and-a-half-hour lecture at 7 p.m. on a Tuesday night, but Dr. G's lectures always kept me engaged and interested. He was so passionate about organic chemistry, and with all his years of experience he had a well structured system. I also remember the advice he would give our class outside of what he taught. His immigrant background resonated with that of my family. Many of his stories inspired me at a time when I was feeling lost. They gave me the courage to keep going, and he was always there to assist me in completing not just my studies, but so much more.
Can you tell us about your internship at INOVA Children’s Hospital?
I was a project research assistant with INOVA Children's Hospital. I worked under a pediatric gastroenterologist who was creating artificial intelligence that assisted in the processing and diagnosis of Celiac and Crohn's disease. Although I entered the process late in the summer, there was a lot to learn from it. I hope to continue working with INOVA on another project with the Children's Oncology Group.
Why should students consider interdisciplinary science as a major?
I had a lot more flexibility with my science courses as an interdisciplinary science major with a professional science concentration. With my premed track classes, I was able to not only meet my prerequisites, but also take courses that I enjoyed. This is, nevertheless, a fantastic option for individuals who are not interested in medicine. There are certain courses that may be relevant to other specializations or graduate level aspirations.