Meet biology major Joy Dodd

Written byQuinn Foster

"Every semester is filled with challenges that cause me to grow. I am forced to change my study habits and seek out helpful resources, whether it be a tutor from Lee Hall or a counselor from the Student Health Center.” 

Joy Dodd
Lafayette, LA

Where I'm From

I am from Lafayette, Louisiana  

Where I Am

I am in my last semester of undergraduate studies for my biology degree.  

Where I'm Going

I plan to attend medical school after I graduate.  

Joy Dodd is a dynamic biology student exploring the world around her far and near. After graduating from South Louisiana Community College with a paramedic degree, Joy decided to transfer to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette to further her education. 

Life at UL Lafayette 

Joy is a biology major concentrating on medical and allied health science. She chose to major in biology because of her love for understanding the formation of life and how science can help others. Her favorite biology courses were Immunology taught by Dr. Kulkarni, Neurobiology taught by Dr. Smith, Ecology taught by Dr. McClain and Histology taught by Dr. Bruce Felgenhauer.  

“Immunology is my favorite class that I have taken at UL Lafayette. The hour and 15-minute class period went by so quickly, with me sitting on the edge of my seat the whole time. The class was very challenging and required a lot of study, but it almost felt effortless because of how much fun it seemed. Dr. Ritwij Kulkarni is an exceptional teacher.” 

When asked what she enjoys about UL Lafayette, Joy said, “This campus is beautiful! I enjoy eating lunch outside by Cypress Lake, the Quad, the tables on Rex Street, or the sitting area near Olivier Hall and Zeus” 

Joy is also earning a double minor studying chemistry and Arabic studies. Joy’s interest in certain chemistry courses encouraged her decision.  

Biochemistry with Dr. Wu Xu is everything I hoped it would be at UL Lafayette. It is one of my all-time favorite courses. By taking a second semester of biochemistry, I automatically have enough credits for a chemistry minor because there are so many chemistry courses required for biology majors,” she said. 

Joy’s interest in international cultures and languages persuaded her to minor in Arabic studies. She followed her passion, which led her to drop a physics course to enroll in Arabic 101. She said, “I spent several years studying Hebrew because I had planned to go to the Medical School for International Health (MSIH) in Beersheba, Israel but I also wanted to go to the Middle East knowing Arabic.”  

Her favorite Arabic studies course is Middle Eastern Politics with Dr. Matthew Ward. Along with her extensive studies, Joy holds a history of being a former member of several organizations such as Pre-professional society, Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship, and the Arabic club.

International health matters 

Joy loves to learn about other cultures and help others worldwide. She understands that the medical field and medical services are for anyone who needs them. Her Arabic studies experience has given her the opportunity to study the languages and cultures of the Middle East.  

Joy’s plan was to apply to medical school in the middle east, but due to the closing of schools, she has decided to apply for medical school in the United States of America. 

“International health has a great impact on the medical field because of how integrated our society has become with an influx of cultures and languages. Studying other cultures and languages will always have the effect of improving my ability to communicate and interact with the co-culture groups present wherever I live and work.” 


Joy’s future is bright  

Joy is excited about her upcoming research project for Intercultural Communications with Dr. Patricia Holmes, “I’m examining the impact COVID-19 had on the deaf community, specifically the requirement to wear masks, and how it disadvantages the deaf and hard of hearing because they depend on being able to read lips,” she said. 

She believes UL Lafayette provided her with a great foundation and support system for her future. "Every semester is filled with challenges that cause me to grow,” she said. “I am forced to change my study habits and seek out helpful resources, whether it be a tutor from Lee Hall or a counselor from the Student Health Center.” 

“I've learned to advocate for myself and others. I'm comfortable asking questions in class or using office hours. I've learned to ask for help and take advantage of the resources offered to help me succeed.” 

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