It’s only her second semester as a faculty member at St. Lawrence University, yet Assistant Professor of Physics Massooma Pirbhai is already teaching her dream class.
“I’m really excited about my biophysics course,” she says. “It deals with the last 20 years of research in biophysics. We’ll read a lot of contemporary papers and talk about some of the things that are happening right now. And students get to design a project of their own.”
That last component is essential to Pirbhai’s overarching goal for the course. By the time her students graduate, she wants them to be confident not just in their research, but in their ability to convey their experience to future employers. Those enrolled in biophysics have a demonstrated interest in exploring related careers, such as bioengineering or medical technology development. Under Pirbhai’s mentorship, they’ll gain the practical knowledge they’ll need to be competitive candidates when applying to internships and jobs.
“They have to take a job description, or they have to take an internship description and research the lab that they're interested in. And toward the end, after I work with them, they're going to come up with a project that they could propose to the lab,” Pirbhai explains. “It’s the first time I'm teaching it, but I'm super excited.”
She’ll also help students craft curricula vitae and write cover letters that clearly advocate for their abilities as researchers and young professionals. As Pirbhai works to cultivate relationships with students that foster their personal and professional growth, she’s grateful to have a similar network of support from faculty and staff in the close-knit St. Lawrence community.