Biology Major, History Minor

We’ll close the week with a third installment in our new series profiling Bethel students and alumni who combined a History minor with a degree in something seemingly having nothing to do with study of the past. Having already interviewed a physicist and a chemist, we continued our tour of the natural sciences with Kendra (Lokhorst) Larson (’11), who not only paired her B.S. degree in Biology with a History minor but served as a teaching assistant in our department.

How did you decide to minor in History? At what point did you decide to do so?

Ever since middle school I have had an interest in History. Thanks to a wonderful U.S. History teacher in high school — who was actually a Bethel graduate! — my interest developed into a love for the subject. During J-term my sophomore year at Bethel I took Dr. Gehrz’s WWI class to fulfill the L gen ed requirement [Contemporary Western Life and Thought: History accounts for the majority of L courses] and loved it so much that I decided I HAD to take more History classes. I’m a big planner so I pulled out my prospective class loads for the upcoming semesters and figured out how to fit more History classes in.

Was it hard to do the History minor at the same time as a B.S. in Biology?

I was actually surprised how easy it was! One of the great things I realized about History classes is that a lot of them fulfill different gen ed requirements such as L, G, U, and K which I would have needed to take anyways. [You can double-count three HIS courses for gen ed — that’s at least half the minor already] While taking the Cold War class the spring semester of my sophomore year, I realized how beneficial it was to give my brain a rest from science classes and labs and offer some variety into my class schedule. Since I was taking Physiology, Organic Chemistry, and Physics that semester, having a History class that was completely different and that didn’t have a lab was a welcome break! After that I tried to sneak in at least one History class per semester. I actually found so many interesting classes to take that I ended up just two classes short of a History major!

Kendra (Lokhorst) Larson ('11)What are you doing now?

Currently I am working in the finance department of a global fertilizer company. I am looking to pursue a career in the medical field, but still trying to decide which graduate school path I want to take.

What would you say to someone who loves history but wants to major in a STEM field: why should they think about minoring in History?

If you have an interest in History, now is the time to pursue it. When else will you get the chance to obtain that knowledge in a class setting? Yes, you can read books about it, but that won’t compare to getting an in-depth learning experience taught by a professor who specializes in that field. Plus, by taking history classes you can cover a lot of the general education requirements (L, U, G, and K) that you’ll need to take anyways. Also, like I mentioned above, during my time at Bethel I found that taking a History class per semester was a welcome break from having so many science classes and labs and allowed for a nice variety in my class schedules. I promise, with the fantastic History faculty at Bethel you won’t be disappointed with your choice to pursue a History minor. (Not to mention, with all these interesting new classes that are being offered, I wish I was still there to take them!)

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