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Zachary Yorke

Zachary Yorke

Being a Virginian high schooler, I had applied to all the state schools and was having a hard time deciding where I wanted to spend the next four years. The answer came when older friends visited during a college break. They all had varied and exciting experiences from their first semesters at school but my friends at Virginia Tech were completely obsessed. I wanted to be a part of that community that had so quickly won over my favorite people. 

The Next Step Towards Medical School

Going to Virginia Tech was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, second maybe to my choice in major. I wanted to be a doctor and there is no shortage in majors that fill those pre-requirements for medical school. After doing my homework by talking to older pre-meds, reading forums, and weighing my own scientific interests; there was one major that kept popping up: biochemistry. As an accepted medical school student, I’m happy with my choice.

Take Advantage of Orientation and GobblerFest 

Orientation was the first opportunity I had to talk to a member of VT Biochemistry. I had so many questions about schedules, AP credits and workload that I was a little overwhelmed, but my advisor did a fantastic job breaking everything down and answering all my questions. I was reminded of the personal choice I had in my education and that if I had questions about anything or if anything went wrong, they were just an email away. In addition to orientation, GobblerFest (a club/activity festival that happens shortly after classes begin) is an amazing way to find out about the school and the countless organizations for any interest you may have.

A Boatload of Support

Everyone in the Department of Biochemistry is there to help students just like you succeed. I cannot understate how proactive the department is with connecting its students to research and volunteering opportunities, grad school info sessions, summer internships and job fair locations/dates. In one of those emails I came across a job fair that lead me to connect with the amazing company I’m currently employed with. In addition to providing the connections for success, it also provides the means. They’ll help you grow skills that will help you in industry, med school, graduate school or whatever you set your sights on.

You Get What You Put In

Soon after starting college I knew I needed to get more involved. I rushed the professional chemistry fraternity; Alpha Chi Sigma and it was a game changer. Through this organization I gained biochem study buddies, life-long friends, volunteering experiences and amazing memories. I truly couldn’t imagine an undergrad experience without it. One of my friends from this organization introduced me to a summer undergraduate research program and when my biochemistry professor brought up the same program, I knew I had to apply.

I was accepted into the program and would spend the next 3 months researching Glioblastoma Multiforme, a deadly brain cancer, full-time at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and Research Institute. On top of the awesome summer stipend, I was able to learn the groundworks of translational research and spend great quality time with the research scientists and medical students at the institution. Due to my involvement in this program I was accepted into a work-study program at the medical school’s affiliated hospital. It proved to be a priceless experience in shadowing physicians across multiple departments and forming relationships with healthcare providers. None of these experiences would have fallen into my lap, all I had to do was take advantage of the opportunities that surrounded me.

A Thanks to VT Biochemistry

My time at Virginia Tech was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I grew to love the people, the hikes, the town but most importantly the school. I was there to get an education and I received more than I ever could have imagined. This happened because of the incredible professors, TAs and administrators that helped provide the perfect environment to learn and grow in. VT Biochemistry helped me achieve my dreams and if I had to do it all over again, I would make the same choice.