The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

The Oldest College Weekly in America. Founded 1868.

The Colgate Maroon-News

Max Rubinstein: Understanding the World Through Science and the Stage

Printed with permission of Max Rubinstein

As finals week and graduation approach, many seniors begin to reflect on their time at Colgate University as they prepare to walk across the stage for their diplomas. One distinct member of the Class of 2024 is senior Max Rubinstein.

Rubinstein is majoring in biology and minoring in both global public and environmental health and theater. All biology majors are involved in a research tutorial, and Rubinstein’s research developed into his biology thesis. His thesis focuses on the gene KLF4, a gene that is involved with multiple types of cancer. He explored how the gene is involved in maintaining genetic stability after DNA damage. 

“Throughout the year, I have carried out numerous experiments in Professor [of Biology Engda] Hagos’ [lab] to find data that explains a mechanism behind the role of KLF4 in maintaining genetic stability,” Rubinstein said.

Through the biology department, Rubinstein also had the opportunity to travel to San Diego, Calif., to attend the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual meeting and present his thesis. Rubenstein shared his thoughts on the conference experience.

“It was incredibly rewarding to attend this conference and learn about different pathways, careers and possible future education involving cancer research and new drug development in hopes of decreasing the mortality of cancer,” Rubinstein said.

Rubinstein expressed his gratitude to Professor Hagos, who he shared has been a guiding light during his academic career at Colgate. He elaborated on how one of his favorite experiences at Colgate has been participating in research with Hagos and spoke on the considerable impact that Hagos has had on him. 

“Not only has [Hagos] provided me with invaluable, hands-on research experience, but he has also become a strong mentor in my life. He has provided me with the motivation and support to continue my academic goals after graduation,” Rubinstein said. “He also has been a very positive person throughout my Colgate experience since sophomore year, as I have taken several courses with him. He has helped guide me through all of my academic endeavors, no matter how big or small.”

Rubinstein was able to use his skills and knowledge from his studies in biology to help his peers as a teaching assistant (TA).

“I was a TA for a general chemistry lab, and it was a really academically fulfilling experience for me because I was able to give back to my peers by helping them learn new scientific concepts and techniques,” Rubinstein said.

Along with science, Rubinstein has always been interested in the fine arts. He finds fulfillment and enjoyment through the Colgate theater department, which allowed Rubinstein to re-explore his passion for theater. This semester, the department performed “The Good John Proctor,” and Rubinstein was the dramaturg. 

“My role as a dramaturg included working closely with Professor [of Theater] Adrian Giurgea to research the play in its entirety and understand all of the elements,” Rubinstein said. “It was refreshing because prior to coming to Colgate, I was passionate about theater and wasn’t as involved as I could have been. It was really rewarding to participate in the University production before graduating.”

Rubinstein explained that while on the surface, biology and theater are widely different fields, the skills he has learned from both have impacted his success. Both involve creative thinking and require one to effectively interpret constructive feedback.

“I’ve realized that the reason I enjoy biology and theater is because at [their cores], both fields are trying to understand the world in different ways,” Rubinstein said. “In theater, we try to the understand the world through a deep analysis of individuals, time periods and emotions. Biology seeks to understand the world in terms of the mechanisms that make up living things.”

Rubinstein elaborated on how the skills he has developed in biology aided him in his recent role as dramaturg.

“I had to analyze the text in a sort of scientific manner to ensure both that the director and actors knew what to do and [that] the audience had a solid grasp of the production in terms of context and background information,” Rubinstein said.

Outside the classroom, Rubinstein is heavily involved in multiple extracurricular activities and outlets.

“At Colgate, I have had the opportunity to be involved with Link Staff since sophomore year. This past fall, I was a Lead Link, helping to organize and carry out the new student orientation,” Rubinstein said. “It was such an amazing experience to work with my fellow peers and the Colgate administration to help make orientation for new students special. It was super cool to see a behind-the-scenes perspective about what goes into making the orientation.”

Rubinstein is also a member of Madison Mentors (M&Ms), a service club that is run through Colgate’s Max A. Shacknai Center for Outreach, Volunteerism and Education (COVE). The club visits Madison Central School once a week and members are paired with an elementary-aged student to mentor.

“It’s been very rewarding to be able to help out my mentee and be a person of guidance and support for him throughout these last few years,” Rubinstein said.

After graduation, Rubinstein will work as a clinical study coordinator at Medline Industries in the suburbs of Chicago, Ill., and he hopes to eventually further his education.

“I know that I will be able to use the skills that I have gained in both my biology and theater experiences to excel in my work,” Rubinstein said. “I’m really excited to join the wonderful team at Medline, and hopefully, in the future, I will be able to return to school and further my academic career in the biological sciences field. I am super motivated to make an impact in the clinical and laboratory setting.”

While reflecting on his time at Colgate, Rubinstein noted how he initially learned about Colgate from his uncles, who also attended, and was drawn to the school due to its emphasis on the community.

“Now that I’m a senior, I understand the importance of creating and maintaining connections in all aspects of life,” Rubinstein said. “I’m thankful for all of the connections I have made with both peers and professors at Colgate, as well as the shared experience I now have with my uncles.”

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