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Biology Major Reports Successful First Semester


MCLA is pleased to continue this series of student profiles about our incoming Class of 2020. We are proud to introduce just a few of the many accomplished and diverse students who belong to this distinctive group, as we discover more about them, their hopes, their dreams, and their goals for the future as they conclude their first semester on campus.

Class of 2020 member Matthew Gilbert’s first semester at MCLA came as a surprise.

“MCLA has been a mixture of what I expected and what I didn't. The professors are eager to help students succeed and the campus’s size is fitting for me. That did not come as a shock to me,” he explained. However, “I did not expect to have to focus so much on the future in terms of scheduling and goals.”

A resident of Lenox, Mass., Gilbert (pictured at right, in the center) also was pleasantly surprised to meet a close-knit set of friends whom he cherishes, and he’s pleased with the tasty and diverse food he’s eaten in the campus cafeteria.

But perhaps the biggest highlight thus far has been the discovery that he was able to find some time to relax within his very busy schedule as a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) student.

A biology major, Gilbert aims for a career in medical technology.

Months before he first stepped foot on campus, Gilbert helped to develop a medical device to improve the lives of others. While attending an engineering camp offered through the University of North Carolina as a high school student, he and some friends were challenged to create something that would solve a medical problem.

Their idea resulted in a patented pair of sunglasses that helps visually impaired people put eye drops into their eyes.

As a medical technologist, “I would prefer lab work, working with samples of blood for example, to determine if a person was positive or negative for a particular disease,” he explained. “This career is what I want because the greatest heroes are those who save lives.”

The study of biology is of great interest to Gilbert.

“Biology comes from the Greek prefix ‘bio,’ meaning life, and logos meaning ‘study,’” he explained. “The study of life intrigues me because it's fascinating how something such as a bacteria can be seen as simpler than a human, and still outsmart us with antibiotic resistance and adapting to environments that we can't.

Gilbert continued, “It fascinates me how life could form from simple molecules and produce such intricate beings as ourselves.”

Not just “a number” on campus, Gilbert found success both academically and socially this semester.

Although his studies required a considerable amount of his time and attention to various class assignments, which prevented him from becoming as involved with campus activities as he might have liked, “Most of the professors are nice and eager to help. Even with some stressful moments, academics went well for me.”

Gilbert chose to attend MCLA because the campus reminds him of home. “I attended a school with around 40 graduating seniors,” he explained. “MCLA’s small, close-knit environment suits me.”