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Debra Sondak

I was an atypical FMS student.  I took my first film class because I was talking with a film major friend, Emily Mayer at the end of the summer before my sophomore year about how nervous I was for the upcoming semester because I was taking four science classes (systems neuroscience, organic chemistry, biology, and organic chemistry lab).  I asked if she had any suggestions for a class that would be a break from the grind of science/Hopkins premed classes and she suggested that I take Intro to the Study of Film, and I listened.  I ended up loving everything about analyzing films and that's what led to me taking more and more classes and completing FMS as a second major.  

I'm currently at UMass Amherst studying towards a PhD in Chemistry.  I've been here for about 2 years now and my research is focused on testing new carbon-based materials for use in electronics like solar cells, LEDs, FETs, batteries, etc.  While I'm not actively studying film, I believe I continue to use the analytical skills I learned in my FMS classes.  I think that taking FMS classes helped me see alternative ways to look at problems and find answers.  What we learn from studying films is that things aren't always obvious on the surface.  Oftentimes, you need to look closer and deeper to find the true meaning.  I definitely need to think of that on a daily basis (especially now that I'm writing up my research to present to my thesis committee for approval).  

Debra Sondak, Class of 2006
MS in Chemistry, UMass Amherst