July-August 2019 Student Spotlight
Since a young age, I’ve wanted to be a doctor. My parents always told me about how I would run around trying to “fix” people with band-aids as early as 5-years-old if they were hurt. Although, no one knew where I had gotten it from, I was so fixated on becoming a doctor. Throughout grade school, I always favored science whether that be the environment, biology, chemistry, etc. In fifth grade, we began separating out science. I feel that fifth grade was a very important year for me because it solidified my prior interest in science. My elementary school went up to 6th grade, so prior to going to middle school, students were required to take placement tests for each subject. I placed into all honors except for science. Although I was bummed, I hoped that I would do well that year, so I could potentially be recommended for Honors Science the following year.
In seventh grade, my teacher would often hand out science current events about various topics. One article changed my life. The article was about neuroplasticity. A story of a little boy’s brain not functioning properly, but due to “neuroplasticity” he relearned how to do things. This was a revolutionary moment for two reasons: one, I had never thought about someone’s brain not working, and two, that article laid the foundation for a passion that I continue to kindle today. I became obsessed with this concept and began researching it constantly. One thing led to another and by the end of the week, I knew neuroscience was the study of the nervous system composed of the brain, brain stem, and nerves, the brain was about the size of two fists held together yet it controlled the entirety of the body, and the condition the boy had was not that uncommon. I was even more engaged with science than before, but at the end of the year, I still didn’t get a recommendation for honors. However, although my teacher didn’t give me a recommendation, my dad overrode his decision and put me in honors. In eighth grade, I struggled in honors science all year, but consistently went to office hours and tried my best. By the end of the year, I had a “B-”, but my teacher still gave me a recommendation for honors science going into high school. I was ecstatic because this was the first time that my teacher believed in me enough to recommend me for honors in science.
In high school, I embarked on my honors science track, and I never looked back. I began in Honors Biology. I dissected worms, frogs, and pigs. I continued to Honors Chemistry in tenth grade. Tenth grade, again, was a turning point for me because chemistry challenged me. I was blessed to have an amazing teacher that spent the extra time with me after class to explain things to me. Once, I started to understand chemistry I started to love it. In eleventh grade, I took Honors Anatomy and Physiology and taking that course reinforced my love for medicine. In this course, we dissected a cat and had practicum exams. During my twelfth year, I took three science courses: Honors Physics, AP Psychology, and AP Chemistry. As I began to look towards college, I looked back over my past. I have always wanted to be a doctor, I fell in love with neuroscience, I fell in love with chemistry, and I fell in love with Anatomy and Physiology. Looking through the topics I found interest in and the topics I had yet to learn about I decided to major in Chemical Engineering. Chemical Engineering would allow me to learn how to problem-solve, learn how to look at processes, and differentiate me from the applicant pool when applying for medical school.
During my time at Villanova, I have truly enjoyed my time as a student. Although at times Chemical Engineering has been very difficult, I believe that it has built my character both in and outside the classroom. The summer after my freshman year, I got an internship at Janssen Pharmaceutical as an Advanced Technology Intern working in a sub group in the supply chain. My group and I functioned as a support group for the manufacturing of small molecule drugs (pills). I absolutely loved being able to see what a Chemical Engineer can do in a work setting. This past summer, I got another internship at Janssen Pharmaceutical again in a different role. I worked mainly with large molecule, specifically growing cells.
Chemical Engineering like honors science, chemistry, and anatomy and physiology has been a pivotal point in my journey in science and I cannot wait to see where the rest of the journey takes me