Life at SJCME

As told by Michaela '14

Meet Biology and Psychology Major Robert Michaud ’14

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Saint Joseph’s College of Maine has a campus of approximately 1,000 students, and the ratio of students to faculty is 12:1. The campus is small, so it is easier for students to get to know one another and find out what others are learning and doing with their majors.

One student here at SJC who would like to share about his work is biology and psychology major Robert Michaud ’14. Here is a bit more about Bobby, his goals, and how he hopes his majors will help him achieve those goals.

Biology and Psychology Major Robert Michaud '14

Robert Michaud ’14, a
biology and psychology major

What are your majors?
Biology and psychology.

Why did these majors appeal to you?
These majors were appealing to me because I have always been interested in the sciences. Biology is of interest to me because I want to become a doctor, and this major had a lot of information about nature and the human body. I have always been fascinated by nature, and I hope to do clinical research on the brain. Research is something that I have always wanted to do for as long as I can remember and this is what made me decide to double major in biology and psychology. By having both degrees I will be more prepared for my future.

Why would you suggest these majors to an incoming student?
I would recommend both of these programs to someone coming to Saint Joseph’s College. The biology department has many devoted members who are passionate about their students. The faculty are always willing to help and help you find opportunities for advancement. It is not an easy program, but you will get out what you put into it, and I have learned a lot about biology. The psychology department is also incredible, and I think it is one of the best departments on campus. The faculty are some of the best professors I have had at Saint Joseph’s College. The department is very well organized, and everyone wants you to succeed. I have had many opportunities within the psychology department to learn and grow. Both biology and psychology are great programs!

What sort of things do you study within you majors? How would you describe them to someone who may not know what they are all about?
In biology we essentially study life. This ranges from cells to large ecosystems. One course that I am currently taking is biochemistry. Biochemistry is the study of all the biochemical pathways that take place in our bodies and other organisms to allow them to function. This included the citric acid cycle, oxidative phosphorylation, and many more. These processes are very complex, but, in simple terms, they are how we get energy out of glucose.

Psychology is basically the study of human behaviors. There are many fields of psychology, each having its own perspective of study. Currently, I am taking a counseling skills class, where I learn about different skills to use when talking to clients.

Psychology and biology are also closely linked, and I have taken classes that involve a combination of the two fields. Health psychology was a class that examined the biopsychosocial model of psychology, which essentially says that biology, psychology, and social behaviors are all connected. This class took a very interesting approach to explain human behaviors.

What are some interesting things you may have done/experienced in classes pertaining to your majors?
Since there are many different fields of biology, there are a variety of classes as well. One of the classes that I took was developmental biology. In this class, we examined the process of development. It was a comparative embryology course. During this course, I was able to see the fertilization and formation of a sea urchin zygote, which then becomes an embryo. This process was incredible and interesting. I was able to see life forming in front of my eyes!

Looking through the microscope.

Looking through the microscope.

There are two courses that are very memorable for me in psychology. The first class was evolutionary psychology. This course, which is a relatively new field in psychology, looked at how evolution and behaviors worked together. It was very interesting. I learned many explanations for our behaviors, one example being that when women are pregnant they experience morning sickness and sensitivity to different types of food. This usually occurs during the first trimester when the baby is developing the most. The mother experiences these sensitivities because it is an evolved psychological mechanism that is designed to protect her and her baby. Now that is interesting!

The second class was psychological testing. This class was collectively intriguing because it examined the different techniques we use to measure a person’s behaviors and make predictions about his or her behaviors. We learned about different tests, including the Stanford-Binet intelligence test and different personality tests.

What are your plans, hopes, and dreams for your future?
My current plan is to use these majors to propel me to the next stage in my education. This involves going to medical school and working toward an MD/PhD  in neurology. I am interested in doing clinical research on the brain, and I hope to be part of a team that can uncover its many mysteries. Using my experience in biology and psychology, I will be able to take a unique and valuable approach to the research of the brain.

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