Jason Ray is from south Louisiana, but after he earned his undergrad degree in Biology from Nicholls State University in 2014, he needed a master’s program within the gravitational pull of Monroe, where his girlfriend had taken a job.

Hello, Louisiana Tech.

Jason Ray“I’ve loved biology since high school because it explains how and why living things work the way they do,” Ray said. “I chose Tech because it has a great research program, and I chose to go to grad school because a masters would open more doors for me in biology and because I wanted to get research experience that I missed out on in undergrad.”

The graduate degree will “show potential employers that I’ve completed coursework and research past undergrad requirements,” he said. “Also, some higher jobs require a masters or PhD.”

He hopes earning his MS in Biology is another step toward a PhD and a job with a government environmental agency such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), or Wildlife and Fisheries. Ray said a person with degrees like the ones he’s pursuing could also “become a professor or do environmental consulting; biology has many job options depending on the area you choose to work in.”

The toughest part of the program “has been balancing class requirements and research requirements,” Ray said, who laughed when asked about his involvement in extracurricular activities the University offers.

“With school and work,” he said, “not a chance.”

Ray said that “all of the professors I’ve had so far are extremely accomplished and published in their fields,” and that “their firsthand experiences with research” have been “extremely” helpful; that’s the part of the program he most enjoys.

“All of my professors have been very helpful in my classes,” he said, “and they really want their students to succeed.”