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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Andrea Hanick '10

Hometown: Kennett Square, PA

Major: Biochemistry

Minors: Poverty and Human Capabilities Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • President, Omicron Delta Kappa
  • Co-Chair, Literacy Campaign
  • Co-Founder, Rockbridge Alliance for a Healthier Community
  • Member, Kappa Alpha Theta

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Study Abroad: Organic Chemistry at The University of St. Andrews, St. Andrews, Scotland
  • Spring Term Abroad: Chemistry and Art, Maastricht, the Netherlands
  • Internships: Shepherd Program Internship, Bellevue Hospital's Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program, New York, New York; Summer Research Internship, University of Virginia's Human Immune Therapy Center, Charlottesville, Virginia

Post-Graduation Plans: Medical School

Favorite Campus Landmark: The patio outside the Co-op (Café 77) in the spring.

I emailed my professors for their advice over the past summer as I applied to medical school. I called them, at work or at home, when I received my first offer to interview . . . and again from an interview several states away for guidance when, again, I needed their experience. Finally I called them over their winter break, jumping up and down while relating the exciting news that I had been accepted!

Four years ago, my dad told me how ecstatic he was that I would be attending Washington and Lee, a college with a reputation for excellent mentorship whose professors were known to be superior without having a sense of their own superiority to students. I didn't quite understand. I had great high school teachers, they cared about me, I appreciated them, and I did well with their help; what was the big deal?

What I couldn't grasp, my father knew all too well. His father had told him, "You don't go to college to learn to make a living; you go to college to learn how to live." He had repeated these words to me over and over. It is only now, as a senior, that I understand what he really meant.

College changed me. I faced challenges I never could have anticipated, and found out how to live along the way. Professors who will teach you to love a subject, who will push your academic limits, who will inspire you to learn and encourage you to ask the hard questions, these professors are excellent, and crucial to a well-rounded, thorough education. But education is half the battle in college. The other half is personal development; the kind that maybe takes some struggle, the kind that definitely works better with support and direction.

At Washington and Lee, my professors know me. That means they know my weaknesses as well as my strengths. In the chemistry department, my professors have pushed me to be better, more confident, at times to work harder and at other times to know myself and when I have done my best. I don't know that I would be a biochemistry major today at any other school; but I couldn't have left my department--there were too many exceptional people rooting for me to succeed and sometimes lighting a fire under me just to keep on moving forward.

The Shepherd Poverty Program has developed me further, changing the way I envision myself and my future. Through this multi-disciplinary program I was able to work in the Methadone Maintenance Treatment Program of Bellevue Hospital in New York City with Dr. Robert Maslansky (W&L Class of 1952). A summer dedicated to working with recovering heroin addicts cemented my determination to serve disadvantaged populations through medicine. And when the summer's experiences got tough, I could rely on the insights of Professor Beckley, the Shepherd Program's director, to help me through.

Washington and Lee fosters students' growth through the personal, daily investment of its professors. My experiences over the past four years have been a testament to the truth of this statement. I feel their unique gifts have shaped my education and my growth from day one. I finally understand what my dad was talking about. They helped me learn how I want to live.