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1990s Alumni Stories

HumBio area of study: Medical Ethics.
My favorite memory of the Core was the professor who taught the heart system in '87-'88. He showed up to class one day in a raincoat and had a bucket full of water, some tubing and a pump. He started yelling, "Lub, Dub... Lub, Dub..." and water started flying everywhere to uproarious laughter! How could you not love HumBio?

HumBio area of study: Environmental Management.
I am currently working as the senior program evaluator for Care for the Homeless, a non-profit in New York City that provides health care to homeless people throughout NYC, and runs a 200 bed shelter for medically frail and mentally ill women in the Bronx. I have been studying a very diverse range of topics. Homelessness involves pretty much every other system in society.

HumBio area of study: Psychobiological Development of Children & Adolescents Deviant & Abnormal Behavior.
The HumBio program really inspired me to value, embrace and draw from the diversity of culture, biology and psychology to pursue a life and career in public health and education. Since my days on the Farm, I've lived overseas in Taiwan teaching English and HIV prevention education, supporting and fighting for rights of people living with HIV/AIDS, to my work today at a clinic serving uninsured limited English speaking immigrants from different part of Asia!


HumBio area of study: Women’s Health in Cross Cultural Perspective.
HumBio was a challenge and a treat, and prepared me very well for a master's program in public health! It took me a year to find out that such a program existed, and another year to apply and get started, but it has turned out to be just my cup of tea. I have worked for public health departments for all those years since graduation, and if anyone wants to know about free condom distribution just get in touch with me!

HumBio area of study: Race and Ethnic Relations.
Nature, nurture, nature, nurture...HumBio was the perfect preparation for my career in elementary education. I have to teach many subjects and the interdisciplinary approach is invaluable. The developemental psychology was particularly helpful as I work with growing, changing learners.

Craig Klugman headshot

HumBio area of study: Biocultural Evolution.
I may be one of the few people who uses his college major as part of his every day work. In fact, it was a medical anthropology class with guest lecturer Gay Becker from UCSF that set me on my career course.

HumBio area of study: Health Promotion.
Human Biology made me realize how multi-dimensional so many of our global challenges are – I think it started with a lecture on deforestation that examined the practice from ecological, social, cultural, and health perspectives. I remember thinking this was way more interesting than mitochondria and interstitial space, so I bailed on any notions on being pre-med and decided to pursue public health. Maybe my medical aspirations were also cut short by an exam where we were asked some “what if” scenarios about Spock’s renal system, only to find out that our elaborate explanations were totally moot because Spock was Vulcan, not human…really??

Elizabeth Louise Riles Clements headshot

HumBio area of study: Female Sexuality.
The funniest thing that happened during HumBio was when we were told that we are all biologically Black and how upsetting that was for a classmate in my small section.

Kevin Madden and family

HumBio area of study: Human Evolutionary Genetics.
I'm astounded how after 15 years the lessons learned in interdisciplinary study continue to reverberate through my daily life. The task of developing an area of study was important; more important was the development of my thought processes that needed to understand how seemingly disparate classes and fields of study fit together. I thought I was learning biology, chemistry, anthropology, sociology and psychology. What I was really being taught was inspired curiosity, creative thinking, problem solving and a lifelong love of learning.

headshot of Natalie

My funniest memory is of tap dancing on stage in front of the entire class at the final "pre-final" study session of the year when I was head A-side CA. I, of course, had no tap dancing experience to speak of, but what can I say, I was inspired. Inspired and, ok, dared by one of the other CAs.

I've had several intersections with HumBio throughout my career. Most directly, I ran business development for KAI Pharmaceuticals, a company founded by former A-side lecturer Daria Mochly-Rosen based on her groundbreaking research in protein kinase C signaling. Daria and Ellen Porzig were two of my most impactful early role models of badass women in science (if you'll excuse the term).

My current role feels like a crash-course in HumBio on a daily basis - I'll go from talking biochemistry to genetics to human development to clinical science in the course of a two-hour meeting. And I love it. It gives me the same intellectual charge as that first lecture where Bill took us from milk consumption patterns to creation myths to Pacific pinnipeds and back again. Cognitive nimbleness is a powerful thing!

HumBio Area of Study: Gendered Perspectives on Human Development.
HumBio undoubtedly gave me the breadth and depth of study that helped launch me on my path to becoming a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. Dr. Ellen Porzig's class on Human Development inspired my honors thesis in the Medical Ethics area of prenatal sex-selection, and Dr. Bill Durham's ability to captivate our attention through the story of Lactose Intolerance remains with me to this day. Strangely, it was my non-HumBio roommate who diagnosed my personal lactose intolerance with her observation "Susan, you seem to have a stomachache every time we have fro yo..." Still lactose intolerant and still appreciating the complexitiies of genetics, environment, and the interactions in between these 21 years later. Thank you Human Biology.

Nina Kjellson headshot

HumBio area of study: Health Policy, Bioethics.
I always knew I would work in health care. HumBio opened my eyes to a much broader context for human health and wellness - encompassing research, policy, community and industry. I am grateful to be partnering with extraordinary entrepreneurs to bring new health care innovations to market.

Nicole Glazer headshot

HumBio area of study: Evolutionary Anthropology.
I always knew I wanted to be a scientist but I think the autumn core of HumBio is what drove me to become an epidemiologist and devote my career to investigating the genetic determinants of human disease. Since that fateful HumBio experience, I have continued to study genetics, evolution and disease and have never looked back!