Sarah Kucenas headshot
Professor of Biology

My aspiration to be a College Fellow is driven by my desire to have the opportunity to interact with undergraduates well before they declare their majors, and share my excitement and passion for science. By the time I step into a classroom for my usual classes here at UVa, I’m in a room of students who have 100% committed themselves to STEM and/or Biology, often with the goal of a career in a health care-related field. And while I still get the opportunity to challenge some of their beliefs about science, I’ve wanted for several years now to be able to interact with our students before they even have decided upon their futures. In my opinion, thinking like a scientist, or at least with the tools that scientists use, is quite literally a way in which to see and interpret the world. And regardless of the career or life choices our students make, science affects all of them. They will all go the doctor, they will all at some point be prescribed a drug, they will all have a friend or loved one affected by cancer, and they will all live on our suffering planet. Being scientifically illiterate isn’t an option in my mind. And by providing our incoming students with an opportunity to scientifically empower themselves, even if a STEM career is not their ultimate goal, we can change our society, and better our community, our country, and our world. This is why I’m incredibly excited about teaching an Engagements course. I can’t wait to use my excitement and passion for science to empower our students and give them the confidence to navigate the world with the tools used by scientists to make informed, evidence-based decisions for the rest of their lives.