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Originally published Friday, October 27, 2006 at 12:00 AM

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How they chose their majors

Melanie mangonon, NURSING SCHOOL: Seattle University, class of '08 WHY THIS MAJOR: Nursing had been Mangonon's original interest, but at...

MELANIE MANGONON, NURSING

SCHOOL: Seattle University, class of '08

WHY THIS MAJOR: Nursing had been Mangonon's original interest, but at the University of Portland she switched to biology after taking an interest in lab work, and earned a bachelor's degree. But she grew disappointed at how little patient interaction she had in the lab. Then the nursing care, both good and bad, that she received during the birth of her two children rekindled her interest in the field. She's now about halfway to obtaining a second undergraduate degree, in nursing.

CAREER PLAN: A nursing job where she has direct contact with patients.

JACOB BROWN, INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS

SCHOOL: University of Washington, class of '06

WHY THIS MAJOR: Brown came in with an interest in international issues but hadn't settled on a major. What drew him in: an introductory class series, including a modern-world history course, followed by a 2003 trip to Israel. "Just getting out there in one of those flashpoint regions of the world made it jump out of the textbook," he says. He's been back to the Middle East since graduation and wrote his thesis on Arab-Jewish relations in the northern Israeli city of Haifa.

CAREER PLAN: He's spreading résumés around Washington, D.C., aiming for a job at a foreign-policy think tank or a federal-government post in foreign-policy analysis.

DIANA THAYER, BIOLOGY/EMPHASIS PHYSIOLOGY

SCHOOL: UW, class of '06

WHY THIS MAJOR: Involvement in a high-school birding group ignited her interest. "I didn't come in as a biology major; I wanted to take some classes and see if I liked anything else better. But I came back to biology."

CAREER PLAN: Wants to become a biology professor so that she can engage in her twin loves: research and teaching.

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