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Alumni in Alternative Careers

In addition to learning how living things work, our graduates learn from their education many skills that are highly valued by employers, such as analytical problem-solving, collaboration, critical thinking and communication. These skills provide a solid foundation for many rewarding careers outside of research and medicine: teaching, forensics, writing, working for a non-profit, among others. Read the stories of our undergraduate alumni who used their education to pursue these “alternative” careers.

Carlise (Douglas) Bethel, PhD Molecular/Cell Biology ’06, BS Biological Sciences ’98

Upon completing her Ph.D., Carlise received a Cancer Research Training Fellowship and became a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health. She is currently a biology teacher at Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School in Upper Marlboro, MD. Prior to teaching, she had no formal experience outside of being a teaching assistant at UMBC. She applied to the Prince George’s County Resident Teacher Program to receive mentorship in the classroom. At UMBC, Carlise worked in Dr. Chuck Bieberich’s Lab and was a Meyerhoff Scholar. The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) featured her journey to become a teacher HERE.

Corey Carter, MAT Education ’10, BS Biological Sciences ’08

Corey graduated from UMBC in 2008 with a degree in Biological Sciences and completed his Master of Arts in Teaching in 2010. He currently teaches science at Old Court Middle School in Pikesville, MD, where he co-founded the My Brother’s Keeper Mentoring program. He has also taught at Rayner Brown Elementary Middle School in Baltimore. In 2016, he was named Baltimore County’s Teacher of the Year.

At UMBC, Cory was a Sherman STEM Teacher Scholar and a Meyerhoff Scholar. He is still an active member of the Sherman Program Alumni Advisory Board, and has returned to UMBC to speak about the importance of connecting to and inspiring students of diverse backgrounds. Read more about Corey on the UMBC News website.

William Guzman, Jr., BA Biological Sciences ’17

William found the perfect marriage of biology and art: medical illustration. He will continue to study the field at Johns Hopkins University.

William is the lead artist on a new board game called Pulse Finder, a physiology board game now in the production phase. William and a group of his UMBC peers won a UMBC undergraduate research award to develop the game and they have since successfully marketed it to a game production company. William designed the artwork in the game and on the packaging, and wrote all the physiology trivia questions. Read more about this group’s entrepreneurship endeavor HERE.

Heather Hillis, BS Biological Sciences ’13

Heather works with the National Forest Service as a Biological Sciences Technician (Wildlife). She works with a small group of people to survey plants and animals, including the spotted owl, the northern goshawk, and elderberries. She encourages undergraduates to find an internship to explore the many career options that are open to them. Read more about Heather’s work HERE.

Shalonda Holt, BS Biological Sciences ’07

Shalonda graduated from UMBC with a teaching certificate in education. She currently teaches biology at Centennial High School in Ellicott City, MD. In 2016, Shalonda was named both the Howard County Teacher of the Year and the Washington Post’s Teacher of the Year. HCPSS Superintendent Renee A. Foose described Shalonda as “a dedicated educator who truly cares about her students and strives to improve the education experience.” Find out more about Sholanda on the UMBC News website, the Washington Post, and the Baltimore Sun.

Henrietta Ocheni, BS Biochemistry/Molecular Biology ’03

After investigating a human ribozyme involved in ribosome biogenesis as a UMBC undergraduate researcher in the Lindahl Lab, Henrietta Ocheni switched into the medical field. She is now Certified Nurse Anesthetist.

Jenna Roussillon, BS Biological Sciences ’13

Jenna left UMBC to purse a Master’s degree in Forensic Science at Towson University, where she graduated in 2015. After teaching Biotechnology to high school students for a year, Jenna now works with the Fairfax County Government. Read more about Jenna’s career plans HERE.

Daniel Stonko, BS Biochemistry/Molecular Biology ’17

As an undergraduate, Daniel assisted the Kevin Omland Lab with research in bird song in orioles, as well as studying the critically endangered Bahamas Oriole. He served as a Teaching Assistant (TA) in BIOL 142 – Foundations of Biology: Ecology & Evolution and a Resident Assistant (RA). He now works at a non-profit corporation on the bwTech@UMBC campus, KeraLink International, as a research and development analyst. The company distributes eye tissue for transplants around the world.

Nikhil Yesupriya, MS Biological Sciences ’15, BS Biological Sciences ’13

Nikhil graduated from UMBC with both his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Biological Sciences. While still a student, he and two other UMBC alums worked together to sell steamed buns and rice bowls at a small stall in the Fell’s Point Farmer’s Market. They named their cart “Ekiben.” Read about their stand in the UMBC Magazine. The trio has since opened a brick & mortor store on Eastern Avenue in Fells Point, still called “Ekiben.” The restaurant focuses on Asian-fusion style foods.