Best of Both Worlds: General Business Minor Student Mimi Reynolds (A&S ’25) Merges Bio with Business and More

Reynolds is grateful she’s been able to take courses through McIntire while continuing to explore her various interests.

Mimi Reynolds

General Business Minor student Mimi Reynolds is preparing for a future role in a field that may not yet have a name, where she’ll provide a function that we can’t even imagine.

A Biology and Economics double major, she enrolled in McIntire’s new program of study to support her strong interest in learning about the intersection of science and business; the minor is helping her to pursue that path.

A Richmond, VA, native who chose to apply to UVA for its well-regarded academics, Reynolds says she has grown to love the subject of biology and credits the University faculty with stoking her passion for studying it in depth.

“I’m fascinated by it, but it’s difficult because it’s an evolving field,” she says, contextualizing the deluge of new discoveries and material that prompted one of her professors to note that much of what she is studying entered the curriculum in recent years. Applying what she is learning in the General Business Minor to enhance both of her majors, she says the minor’s coursework is helping to resolve a conundrum she had wrestled with upon arriving on Grounds.

“I was asking myself if I wanted to study the science side or the business side, and I decided that I want to be more in the middle. It is challenging because in my science classes—nearly everyone’s pre-med—but the innovation side is really exciting to me. To be able to pursue that, you need the science people, but you also need the business brains to bring a new product [to market]. Where I want to be headed might be a field that doesn’t even exist today, as fast as the area of biotechnology is changing,” she says, confirming her intentions to one day work as an essential intermediary between the industries captured by her two chosen majors. She sees her ability to prepare for that future role—whatever it may be—strengthened by the General Business Minor.

Bio Role Models and Business Angels

By what she chalks up to word-of-mouth, Reynolds has happily found herself reaping the benefits of two important organizations in CvilleBioHub and CAV Angels. The two groups typify the many entrepreneurial initiatives taking place in the City of Charlottesville and within the extended University community; both give her the space to apply and add to what she is learning at UVA.

Interested in new developments in biotechnology, Reynolds has spent time listening to local startup founders and pioneers at CvilleBioHub, an educational resource and accelerator home for many of Virginia’s diverse biotech companies. On a whim as a second-year, she chose to attend one of their events on AI in healthcare and was startled to learn she had put herself in a position where she was forced to step out of her comfort zone.

“I was the youngest person there, and it was a networking event where we had to socialize before the speaker [presented],” she recalls. “I thought, ‘I have no idea what I’m doing.’” Reynolds repeatedly told the other attendees she met that she was a college student but felt that simply being in that environment, exposed to discussions about where the field was heading—and being the youngest person in the room—proved to be a great starting point.

Reynolds envisions CvilleBioHub’s Nikki Hastings, Professor and Executive Director of McIntire’s M.S. in Commerce Biotechnology Track, as a role model. A leader working in a STEM-related area, Hastings has given Reynolds the opportunity to work with the organization she co-founded in 2016.

“She’s someone I really look up to, who’s in the field, and who sees both sides: business and science,” Reynolds says, explaining that Hastings understands where her interests lie and provides a positive voice supporting her goals to work at the crossroads of biology and business—an aim that is often met with confusion by her peers. “It’s definitely frightening and exciting at the same time, because [my career plans] are going into this uncharted territory.”

Reynolds is also involved with CAV Angels, a nonprofit investing network that focuses on funding UVA-connected entrepreneurs. Deciding to find out more after hearing many good things about the organization, she joined as a student member in spring 2023. The following fall, she became one of their student interns.

“One thing I love about CAV Angels is how welcoming they are to students, creating this educational environment that’s teaching us as much as we can learn, and giving us access to different materials about angel investing,” she says. “As I’ve become more involved with it, I get to host pitches, distribute materials to all the investors, and get to work with CAV Angels’ Healthcare Advisory Council to learn about healthcare-specific investments.”

As a result, she’s had ample time reviewing healthcare companies and other ventures, their platforms, the methods in which they’ve been growing, and the ways that investors are reviewing them. “It’s really been a class in and of itself, with a lot of learning on the job. But being in that environment is the best way to learn outside of the classroom, with real-world exposure. I’m definitely really grateful to be a part of that,” she says.

One highlight came last December, when Reynolds saw her two worlds meet at a holiday party where both organizations were represented.

“That played into the excitement for me: to see the CvilleBioHub people and the investing people coming together,” she says.

Specific Skills, Extensive Experiences

Reynolds is grateful that she’s been able to take courses through McIntire while continuing to explore her various interests.

“I like where the minor is heading, and I think it’s a great opportunity to keep students involved in McIntire,” she says, detailing some of what she’s been studying. “In my IT class, it’s digital skills. We did a lot in Excel, pivot tables, and a lot of different kinds of useful data modeling tools that I hadn’t worked with before,” she says, adding that she’s been analyzing case studies in marketing to cultivate a deeper understanding of that sphere.

Reynolds has also been excited by her Finance course with Professor Mark White: “He actually has a biology background, which shows during his finance lectures,” she says. “[Professor White] says that financial statement analysis is similar to going to a physical checkup, while looking at the profitability of the company is like taking its temperature and its vitals.”

Outside of her coursework and aforementioned education outside of the classroom, she has also been an active ESL tutor, a role she’s taken on in various situations since high school. She now serves as an ESL Assistant for VISAS with UVA’s graduate international students.

“We help them get up to speed on presentation skills and translating academic knowledge into a presentation. I actually learn a lot in that class about my own presentation skills and how I should present to people,” says Reynolds, explaining that she has continued to work in ESL-related roles as she enjoys being immersed in that environment, focused and present with her students, and learning more about people within the University community. “Even though it’s still in the UVA bubble, it’s definitely a different side of it.”

Judging by the other aspects of the multifaceted third-year’s proactive approach to her education, it makes sense that the General Business Minor is providing context for her wide-ranging experiences on Grounds. Also a Research Assistant for the Holsinger Portrait Project, the result of taking a COLA [a one-credit, graded seminar course open to all new first-year students in the College of Arts & Sciences] course as a first-year, Reynolds was invited to take the position by her adviser.

Though she started by reading through old newspapers and building ancestry trees, as the exhibition launched, she was asked if she would take the reins of the project’s social media accounts. “I stepped into that role, which I’ve never done before. But I’m seeing the overlap of social media as marketing that I’m learning in the business class in the minor,” she says. “Bringing [the Holsinger Portrait Project] alive with social media has allowed me to see marketing and business come full circle—the overlap between all of my different interests—which has been really fulfilling.”

Reynolds says that while she has pivoted from her pre-med plan she had been considering when she began her college career, she has continually taken opportunities like the minor to learn additional skills and gather a wealth of experiences across multitude of niches. “From the beginning, a lot of people around me had it all figured out. Something I’ve struggled with is that I’m already in these two different fields,” admits the double major, “but what I’ve learned from my time at UVA is that it’s okay to want to wear a lot of different hats.”

Find out about all the exciting things happening in the McIntire community. Visit our news page for the latest updates.

More News