Pioneer Profile

Brittany Hitz '20

Major: Marine Biology
Minor: Chemistry

What made you choose this major?

While in middle school I had a science teacher recommend a science summer camp to me after noticing how I enjoyed his class. My main memory from the camp has always been from when I was working in the stream catching and categorizing the organisms. It wasn't for a few years that I learned I could turn my passion for the water into a career with marine biology. I added the chemistry minor after taking two chemistry courses in high school that I really enjoyed, along with giving a presentation in the second class about how chemistry related to marine biology, which made me realize how well they work together.

How has what you've learned prepared you for your future?

My chemistry classes have expanded on the techniques I learned in high school as well as taught me so many new things that I will be using in a job after I graduate. Between the biology, English and chemistry courses, I feel more confident when working on research in the lab and when writing scientific papers on any experiments and their results.

What opportunities have you had to work closely with a faculty member and what impact has that had on your education?

The smaller classes have been great at making connections with the professors. It makes it so easy to ask questions during the class and being able to get to know people who have more experience in my field. One of the best examples of this was with my advisor, Dr. Roberto Brenes. With marine biology being a difficult two years with the classes I have to take here, he was there to help me with any questions. Whether it was a scheduling conflict or a small question, he was always quick to help me solve anything and reassure me that everything was going to work out. Knowing there are faculty who are able to work closely and make sure the students here are ok has really made me feel like I am welcomed and belong at Carroll.

What's a unique experience you've had relating to the coursework for your major?

The most unique experience for marine biology is the partnership with Hawaii Pacific University in Honolulu, Oahu, Hawaii. During the two years spent at Carroll, I am finishing my math, English and basic science courses in chemistry, biology and physics. Once in Honolulu, I'll be taking marine specific courses, along with hands-on experience in the ocean and in labs.

How has Carroll enriched your growth as a person outside of the skills you're learning in the classroom?

I have also been able to work on classes and activities related to my chemistry minor. I have loved chemistry for a few years and while at Carroll I have a job in the chemistry department, along with being a member in the chemistry club on campus. Through the club, I have been able to volunteer and help teach younger kids chemistry and how to have fun with it while staying safe. I have also had a weekly radio show with WCCX, the campus radio, which has made me more confident with public speaking after talking on air. Through these two clubs I have been able to meet people who have a wide range of majors, but are all able to come together with our similar interests.

If you were recommending your major to a prospective student, what would you tell them?

There is a lot of work to do in the two years at Carroll with the classes, but as long as you commit and put in the time with homework and studying, it won't be a struggle. Take advantage of the resources available to help with studying and you'll do fine. It may seem like a lot of work and classes in two years, but the time goes by quickly and before you know it it'll be your last semester at Carroll and the work will pay off. Plus, after the hard work, the payoff is moving to Hawaii to finish the degree, which makes the hard work here worth it.

Are you happy with your choice to attend Carroll University?

I have enjoyed my time here. I've meet so many amazing people who I get to call my close friends, and made connections with faculty that even after two years since being in their class, they still check in and are see how I'm doing. The small class sizes have been a dream, since it gives you the opportunity to meet with the professors one-on-one for extra help and any questions from class.

Is there anything else you'd like to share about your experience at Carroll University?

Don't be afraid of the work you'll have to do while in classes. The time flies and the work won't be as bad as you imagine it. Make sure you set time to study and do homework during the day so your night won't be just homework. One last thing I can say, make sure to take breaks, even during finals, to give yourself a rest. A great thing to do during those breaks is to walk either around campus or walk downtown and explore the river walk and downtown shops. The fresh air is a great thing to clear your head, and the area is beautiful to walk around, especially since it's so close to campus.

Learn more about the Marine Sciences program

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