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Dual Chemistry and Biology Major Crafts a Future in Hands-On Industry

Raven Alwine-Frank, dual Biology and Chemistry major, working in the lab

Raven Alwine-Frank ’23 was originally a Mechanical Engineering major when he decided he’d rather work in a lab than with robotics.

Raven Alwine-Frank ’23 loved to hear the stories his grandfather told about setting up assembly lines in China. The work sounded exciting—with the opportunity to travel abroad and program robots. It seemed like just the type of career Raven would want for himself one day.

But when the York Suburban High School graduate enrolled at York College of Pennsylvania as a Mechanical Engineering major, he found the work just wasn’t right for him. “I didn’t enjoy it as much as I first thought I would,” Raven says. “I needed a change.”

He found his interests lean toward biology and chemistry, two areas his stepmother has worked in throughout her life. Remembering his love of chemistry in high school, Raven thought he’d give it a shot.

Finding his way

From the Chemistry lab, where high-end industry equipment is available as soon as a student enrolls at York College, to the intricate reporting techniques in Biology, Raven found these two areas of study offered him unique perspectives on a variety of projects.

In Quantitative Analytic Chemistry, he’s preparing for his capstone project by taking nickels and studying if the government standard for copper and nickel is accurate based on the years on the coins. Being able to choose this area of study himself, and work on it with an advisor, has helped him learn more about the types of work he might be able to do in the field.

“We dive right into these types of projects,” he says. “I am confident that I’ll learn what I need to be successful in the future.”

Balancing two heavy-hitting majors could be daunting for some, but for Raven, it’s a challenge he looks forward to tackling. Through group projects he learns to work with a team, how to manage his time, and the ways in which he’ll apply lab skills in the real world.

“I was worried that changing majors and then having two majors would really put me behind,” he says. “But I’m going to finish just one semester later than I first expected. It’s worth it to me, because I know this is where I need to be.”

Everything he wanted

In addition to juggling two majors, Raven is involved in swimming and track. While his academic experience has challenged him to develop his science skills, his sport engagement helped him build a group of friends that have supported him.

“I’m so busy with classes, it can be tough to engage with people,” he says. “Being involved in sports helped make that easier. I have this group of people I really connect with, and that adds to my overall enjoyment of being in college.”

While he’s still working to figure out what his career may be in the future, with thoughts about attending graduate school, Raven believes York College has given him the foundation to pursue whatever is next.

“I look forward to learning more,” he says. “I’ve gained a lot in a short period of time.”