Students in field

Student Spotlight: Austin Keranen, Biology

August 25, 2021

Austin Keranen wearing a white lab coat jacket, smiling, and holding two glass beakers used for measuring out liquids in the biology lab.

For FinnU biology student Austin Keranen, his first declared major didn’t feel like the right fit. He wanted to choose a degree that fell in line with his personal interests and made him feel enthused to learn. Since Keranen was a dual enroll student at Finlandia from Hancock Central High School, he was able to draw from that experience when declaring his biology major.

“I completed BIO 171 as a dual enrolled student. I really enjoyed the content of that course and wanted to learn more about biology since my interests in high school were strongly towards the natural sciences,” said Keranen.

A few of the main appeals for him when selecting biology as his major were the professors’ dedication toward student success, opportunities to gain undergraduate research experience and the support he received when showing interest in furthering his education to the doctorate level.

“Dr. Budd, Oyadomari and Meingast are phenomenal professors and are really there for their students,” Keranen said on his experience so far. “All three of them have moved mountains for me in terms of gaining opportunities or getting through difficult times.”

While being a biology major is a large part of Keranen’s identity, he is also very involved in the Finlandia community. He is a student ambassador, work-study within the registrars office, campus housekeeper and a soon to be biology teaching assistant. He wears a lot of hats at the university, but said that he wouldn’t trade it for the world.

A special part about being a biology student in the Keweenaw Peninsula is the hands on experience students can get from being in nature. In his spare time he enjoys walking through the woods or seeing Lake Superior. ” I find that it relaxes me to watch ‘biology-in-action’,” said Karanen.

Karanen wanted to make sure to note that Finlandia is the type of university where life-long friendships are formed. “I know that long after I graduate, I will still be able to reach out to classmates, professors, and others and get advice and be able to chat. You truly cannot find these opportunities elsewhere.”

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