Aidan Orly ‘16

When I tell people I am a Biology major, the immediate follow-up question is often whether I am ‘Pre-Med.’ On the contrary, I say, I am Pre-Spending-My-Life-Outdoors-For-A-Living.

As a child, I spent most of my time outdoors, partially due to my dad’s insistence and partially because I was one of those kids that could relate more to a chipmunk than a human (at least during my angsty middle school years). From this came my curiosity in how the natural world works, and, more importantly, how we as humans interact with it and affect environmental change.

Pomona’s biology major has allowed me to study just this. During my first-year, I was always outside during labs (in the middle of February!) observing birds and comparing arthropod communities in native habitats and Pomona’s organic farm. I spent my last two summers in a Yale greenhouse and outdoors at Pomona’s Bernard Field Station, respectively, and I have drawn upon my knowledge in ecology in environmental clubs to implement change on campus.

Whether collecting cockroaches near a dumpster for Insect Ecology, designing protected areas for lizards in Conservation Biology, or developing GMOS in Plant Physiology, the Biology Department serves all sorts of diverse interests. There is never a lack of interesting—albeit sometimes anomalous—work happening in the Seaver biology building and sometimes it feels almost too easy to become involved.

Biology is a great major for pre-med students, but it is equally great for those interested in pursuing the many other sub-fields and careers within biology. As former Secretary of the Interior, Stewart Udall, put it when speaking to biologists: “If you who work with, and have the primary responsibility for, and knowledge of the living world do not act [to improve it], who will?”