Graduate Student Spotlight | Melina Stevanovic

Melina Stevanovic

"At Hood College, we are learning from professors who are on the cutting edge of science, and countless other fields. You don’t just get an education, you get current and useful information applicable to your field of study"

Melina Stevanovic, M.S. Bioinformatics


  • Bioinformatics (M.S.)


  • Biology
  • Computer Science & Information Technology

Melina Stevanovic, Bioinformatics international graduate student, just landed a dream job with a NIH/NCI contractor agency in Frederick, M.D.

Could you please share more about your educational and career background?

I had just turned 18 years old when I came to the United States. I was originally studying Biochemistry and then switched to Chemistry my senior year. I graduated in 2015 with an undergraduate  degree in Chemistry.

My first job after graduating was with a company called Akumina; a software developing company. I enjoyed my experience with Akumina so I decided to further my education at Hood College and enrolled in a master’s degree program in Bioinformatics.

This decision would prove to be transformative in terms of the opportunities and knowledge I would gain. I really want to thank my extraordinary Hood bioinformatics professors for putting so much effort into helping me learn and apply my learning as efficiently as possible.

You have just landed an amazing job with an NIH/NCI contractor in Frederick, MD. Could you please tell us more about it?

Big data is everywhere and its influence and practical omnipresence across multiple industries will just continue to grow. Big pharma, biotech, and software companies want to hire professionals with experience in bioinformatics, identification, compilation, analysis, and visualization.

Huge amounts of biological and health care information are in very high demand for talented professionals at the crossroads of computer science, biology and statistics. People who can analyze large amounts of information, and present it in a clear manner to decision makers are finding a variety of career pathways, especially in the biotech sectors and big pharma.

My upcoming work responsibilities will be related to what I was learning and working on these past years at Hood College: bioinformatics and data analysis.

As an international student, how hard was your job search? Do you have any advice for F-1 students who are currently looking for employment?

Being an international student adds an additional layer of constraints and challenges after graduation.

As international students, we need to put more effort to make our dreams become a reality and find a job once we graduate. I say this not to be discouraging but to encourage international students that no matter how hard it can be, the end results are rewarding.

You must believe and trust yourself, even when you have doubts. The most important part of the job hunt is networking. Lastly, be yourself and do not forget to be happy with small victories.

What is your advice for international students when it comes to the OPT process?

Make sure you collect all the necessary information from your Designated School Official (DSO). The DSO at your institution will help you and answer all your questions pertaining to visa regulations and work authorizations for international students.

The OPT process is very simple, just take it step by step. Ask questions, meet the deadlines, and gather all the required documents and you will be in great shape!

In the end, why did you choose Hood College? 

At Hood College we are learning from professors who are on the cutting edge of science, and countless other fields. You don’t just get an education, you get current and useful information applicable to your field to study.

My professors always bring so many resources, amazing ideas, and knowledge. The professors are passionate about what they are doing, they are up-to-date and beyond resourceful. At Hood College you are not a number - the professors know and remember your name and they are always available to help.

Hood is a liberal arts college, so students get the opportunity to experience and take classes that are not strictly related to their degree. That is a huge benefit since hiring companies are looking for a well-rounded individual, preferably from liberal arts institutions.

Lastly, Hood College is one of the most beautiful campuses I have ever seen, with the most welcoming people, enriched with students from all over the world. I am extremely appreciative for making the decision to become a student at Hood College!

Inspired by Melina's story and ready to #GOFURTHER in your studies and career? Learn more about our graduate programs, including the M.S. in Bioinformatics, by clicking here.