Subject: Interest Field of Biology

Dr. Cathy Schaeff (
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 21:33:12 +0000


hope that this information is helpful.

TanBinh Van Nguyen wrote:
> Dear:  Dr. Cathy Schaeff
> My name is Tan.  I am a student from SJSU and I am very interesting in
> field of Biology science. I would like to ask you some questions; this
> question will help me finding out more interest about Biology.  To my
> heart, I would like to say thank you to you and I am willing to take and
> hear all of the answers below from you.
> Profession:
> Place of Employment:
> 1.  How did you get interested in and started in your profession?

I have always been interested in the natural sciences and liked to spend
time outside exploring.
> 2.  Are you pleased with your profession?  yes, very

What do you like best about it?  What are some of the things you
disklike about it?

I get to investigate questions that interest me, use my brain actively,
and get others interested in what I find interesting.  Not many things
that I dislike about it.

> 3.  Is this a promising profession for the future, do you recommend it
> for young people like me? Why, or why not?

Yes, science is an important field and becoming more so.  There will
always be jobs in science-related fields and the area is broad enough
that you will find many areas which 'fit' your preferences.
> 4.  How long does it take before you can start working independently in
> this field? 

Depends on the job you are interested in.  You can work as a technician
after a three or four year degree (under someone else's supervision). 
For independent work you probably need a master's degree or some sort of
post graduate degree.

 What kind of advanced study or degree does somebody have to
> do to be this kind of biologist?
> 5.  What kind of starting salary could I expect?  What are the upper
> limits of salary? See these sites:;
> 6.  What kind of continuing education is required in this field once you
> enter it? See these sites:;
> 7.  What kinds of skills other than science are important (writing?
> people skills? finance?) See these sites:;;
> 8.  If you had your undergraduate years to do over again in preparing for
> this profession, is there anything you would do differently?  Are there
> other types of courses you would take?  What would you major in?

The only change I would make is to have done my schooling more slowly --
I was in a hurry to be finished and so didn't make as much of the
opportunities as I could have.

> 9.  Is there any general advice you would like to give me or any
> beginning science student who is thinking about a career in this area?

Get as much experience along the way as possible -- volunteer in labs,
work as assistants in the field, etc.  Get to know biologists who are
working on things you find interesting.
> Again, thank you for your great time and have a nice day.

TanBinh, also look at the following sites:;;

good luck
Cathy Schaeff, Ph.D.
Biology Department,
American University,
4400 Mass. Ave. NW,
Washington DC 20016.

(202) 885-2175 (phone)
(202) 885-2182 (fax) (email)