Saylor Behrens

November 30, 2023 by CAS MarComm

Major: English
Minor: Biological Sciences
Hometown: Martell, Nebraska

Why did you select your major and minor?
I based my major and minor off of my career goals and passions. After shadowing an Optometrist in high school, I knew it was something I wanted to pursue. I also knew that I was young, and it would be unwise to close myself off from other options.

Traditionally, pre-optometry students will major in Biology (as it lines up with a lot of the pre-requisites). I decided to switch things up and major in English (honoring my love for literature). To this day, it was the greatest gift I've given myself. My English courses "fill my cup" and leave me feeling satisfied. They off-set the nature of my science pre-requisites and keep my semesters balanced. While it has added more work, it has also led to a very fulfilling three years so far!

What is your favorite course you have taken from your program(s) and why?
I have loved so many of the English courses provided here, but if I had to narrow in on one, it would be Intro to Poetry with Dr. Jamaica Baldwin. This class truly felt like my safe space during college. I learned various techniques for curbing writers block and also learned how to submit my writing to publishers for the first time. Not to mention all the lovely poems I got to appreciate!!

When it comes to science courses, biochemistry with Dr. Didier Mena was my favorite. He is an incredibly entertaining lecturer who truly cares about his students success. As someone who never particularly enjoyed chemistry, I absolutely loved seeing everything blend together in the course. It applies general biology, chemistry, immunology and many others things you learn as a student.

I highly recommend both courses!!!

Who have been some of your strongest mentors or role models here?
I've had SO MANY professors here at UNL who have left me feeling inspired and supported during my studies! To name a few: Dr. Caterina Bernardini, Dr. Pascha Stevenson, Dr. Jamaica Baldwin, Dr. Didier Mena, and Dr. Christine Booth.

Do you have research experience?
While I don't have any hands-on research experience. I have completed and received two research certifications from a program called CITI (Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative). Both of my certifications regard ethics and responsible conduct of research, so I feel confident in my ability to appropriately construct and manage a project if I decide to do so in the future.

Have you had an internship or job?
Yes! I work as a technician at Oculi Vision Rehabilitation and Heartland Optical in Lincoln. My role includes greeting and pre-testing patients with procedures like visual acuities, tonometry, and fundus photos (to name a few!). This hands-on job has allowed me to understand optometry on a deeper, more personal level and leaves me feeling confident in my decision to pursue the Optometric field.

Did you/are you going to study abroad?
I have not, but I know UNL has various resources and opportunities for if I decide to go somewhere in the future.

What are you involved in on campus or in the community?
Peer Mentor for CASC 150 (Intro to Health Professions) PUMP Club Pre-Optometry Club Alpha Lamba Delta Honor Society

What are your plans after graduation?
My career goals include furthering my education through obtaining an O.D. degree, publishing medical writing, and following more extensive training in neuro-optometric rehabilitation. I also hope to get a second dog or start fostering rescues!