Hamline News

Career-Ready Science


While science students gain deep knowledge in the classroom, and tremendous opportunities in the lab, there’s one more element that gives Hamline students the edge when it comes to career readiness.

Hamline Initiative for Professional and Academic Liaisons (HIPAL) enables students to start preparing for professional careers during their first year at Hamline with specialized career development resources. HIPAL is designed for natural science students that exhibit strong technical skills, intellectual curiosity, and enthusiasm for academics. The four-year program supplements their academic experience by exposing them to networking mixers, keynote lectures, weekend workshops, book clubs, technical career development events, and speaker panels.

“Students accepted into the program learn a lot of professional development skills through seminars and workshops that develop the important skills they’ll need beyond science,” HIPAL director and chemistry professor Dr. Deanna O’Donnell said. “The ultimate goal of the program is that students are first-day ready for their career or professional school.”

The very first group of 17 HIPAL students graduated in the spring of 2016 and the majority of them are already working in the field or are in graduate or professional school. There are a total of 44 students in the program right now and Professor O’Donnell hopes they will continue to recruit more high-achieving and ambitious students to the program on an annual basis.

“HIPAL has helped me in reaching my dream of attending medical school through preparing me for application essays, resumes, personal statements, presentations, networking, and interviews,” biochemistry major and psychology minor Meghan McCaskey ’16 said before graduating. “This program has made me a more confident individual when it comes to applying for medical school and also preparing for the workplace later on.”

HIPAL hosts keynote lectures each semester and requires all HIPAL members to attend. The spring 2017 lecture featured Dr. Bradley F. Boeve, professor of neurology and chair of the division of behavioral neurology Mayo Clinic. Boeve’s lecture focused on frontal lobe function and dysfunction, but he also had practical career advice for the students. He encouraged them to use resources like HIPAL to guide them through challenges because he thinks more guidance from classmates, professors, counselors, and mentors would have made his journey to medical school shorter and less painful.

“If you find a mentor who is good, stick with them, and if they tell you something you don’t want to hear, they are probably right,” Boeve said in his lecture.

Boeve explained gaining mentors later in his career was critical to his success and emphasized that listening to mentors now will offer more opportunities in the future, and help students stay focused. It’s advice that physics and mathematics double minor Micah Mueller had already discovered to be true.

“HIPAL has given me access to a network of advisers tailored to my needs as a science major to ensure that I am thinking about what I'll do after I graduate and am preparing myself for a career in the sciences,” Mueller ’16 said.

HIPAL offers these focused career development opportunities to provide students with pathways to strengthen their professional and educational goals. HIPAL is also an interdisciplinary program because it allows math and science students studying in numerous areas including biology, chemistry, biochemistry, mathematics, public health sciences, physics, and exercise science to join.

“HIPAL is helping me reach my goals by making me work and think about things I never considered when I started college,” Charlie Bendelsmith ’16, a biochemistry and chemistry double major, said before graduating. “I always assumed intelligence is all I needed, but HIPAL has taught me a lot about marketing myself and networking so that I will better be able to communicate with people when I graduate from college.”

Hear more HIPAL student testimonials by watching the video below. To find out more about HIPAL and to access the application for the upcoming cohort, please go to the HIPAL website here.