Biological Sciences Columbia University
Prospective Students
Admission Requirements
Financial Aid
Contact Us
Apply Now
Current Students
Graduate Student Handbook
Ph.D. Requirements
Pre-research Seminars
Department Resources
Columbia Resources
Student Directory
Incoming Class
Previous Classes
<-- Back

Susan Tozier
Graduate Student

My love of science originated before I can remember, but really solidified into a career path when I began doing research on Kaposi's sarcoma virus an an immunology lab in college at the University of North Carolina.  I really enjoy the community feel of working in a lab and the excitement and possibility of learning something new or making a discovery that is built into every day.  After college I expanded my interests by working in the genotyping center at Duke University's Institute for Genome Science and Policy.  I was fascinated with the connections being made between disease, genetics, robotics and statistics that we were able to explore by performing studies for several different scientists as well as some pharmaceutical companies.  Working in this lab showed me very clearly how new advances in scientific inquiry like robotics and bioinformatics can give us the power to not only increase our understanding of genetics and other fields but perhaps more importantly to make real, immediate improvements in people's lives.

While I will always have a soft spot for the south, I felt the call of the city after college and moved up to begin working on a masters degree in education at the Teachers College.  Since moving to New York, I have been teaching high school biology and chemistry at a wonderful public school in Brooklyn and it has been the most difficult and rewarding job I have ever had.  Teaching has allowed me to simultaneously explore many different facets of science, as well as to share my excitement and awe of science with a population of students who truly need dedicated teachers.  I have discovered in myself a true love of teaching and in return have received an education from my students and colleagues about the value of being a life-long learner.  To that end, I decided to take advantage of one great perk of teaching high school (summer vacation) and volunteered in an invertebrate zoology lab at one of my favorite places on the planet: The American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan.  This was a great opportunity to learn more about sequencing, but also to get over my fear of scorpions and tarantulas!

I have had so many wonderful experiences in many different labs (and classrooms) that have shown me that I am meant to be a scientist.  I am so excited to start work on the Ph.D program this fall to pursue the interests I have accumulated over the past few years; namely the relationships between genetics and disease and how these tendencies have evolved over time.

Susan Tozier