Nozrin Laskar ’14 – Majors: Molecular Biology; Religious Studies M.S., Biomedical Sciences, Rutgers University (May 2016) Entering Dental School in Fall 2016
Why did you choose to study Religion at Montclair State?
I started at Montclair State as a Molecular Biology major and Chemistry minor. I chose to add another major, Religious Studies, for a multitude of reasons. But the main reason was that I found it fascinating. It was fascinating in every aspect of the word.
Majoring in Religious Studies opened my mind to the universe. Religion has always played a crucial role in history. Its fundamental role has existed in all civilizations, and it helps us understand people and their behavior. It’s something you can’t escape learning from. And that just blew my mind away!
I also believe that studying religion in a secular setting was beneficial to me. Learning about the concepts and narration of spiritual practices both deepened my appreciation for other religions and strengthened my practice of my own faith.
Which courses and/or professors did you enjoy the most?
All of them! All my professors pushed me (and my peers) to think outside the box. My top courses were Jewish Spirituality and Mysticism, and two Selected Study courses: Mysticism & Spirituality and Religious Experience.
I loved my classes with Drs. Kogan, Vail, Benfield, and Clatterbuck. I remember sitting in their courses and learning about the most interesting and provocative ideas. I often would just sit in class and ponder the fact that religion penetrates every aspect of human culture. It will always be exciting to study.
How has your study of Religion helped you in your “life after Montclair State”?
I think what some people fail to realize is that this is a field of study that impacts everyone. It impacts the world. Therefore learning Religion educates you on all societal issues. It truly educates you to be a global citizen. In Spring ’16, I finish my master’s degree in Biomedical Science at Rutgers University. And in August ’16, I will begin dental school. I haven’t decided which school yet, but I’m extremely grateful to have choices. People have asked me, “How will this degree benefit you as a dentist?” And I respond by saying that dentistry is a social career. It’s a career where you are a service to your community – you interact with everyone, of all backgrounds and walks of life. So you need to be culturally sensitive. Without a doubt, my background in Religious Studies trained me to be an independent thinker and allowed me to philosophically appreciate my scientific knowledge. The more I studied science, the more I loved religion, and vice versa.
What would you tell a current student who is considering a major or minor in Religious Studies?
Go for it! Declaring a Religious Studies major was one of the wisest decisions I made in college. You will learn more than you ever expected. You will open your mind and understand society’s challenges in a new and unique way. The professors at Montclair State challenge you, encourage you, support you, and eventually become your family.
I would also advise them to not be afraid of learning new things or being uncomfortable with new ideas. This is the time to ask questions, be respectful of others, and broaden your scope of thinking. Truth be told, I have grown and discovered a part of myself as a student at Montclair State. I questioned beliefs, ideas, and theories in the hopes of bettering myself. And because of that, I have grown tremendously. I encourage anyone to study religion if it interests them – it will be an enlightening experience.