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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University
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Greg Kurkis '11

Hometown: Roswell, GA

Major: Biochemistry

Minor: Poverty & Human Capability Studies

Extracurricular Involvement:

  • Varsity Football (Captain)
  • Rockbridge Area Free Clinic Volunteer
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Peer Tutor
  • Kappa Alpha Order

Off-Campus Experiences:

  • Summer 2009: Shepherd Alliance Internship as a Medical Clinic Intern at Fan Free Clinic in Richmond, VA.
  • Summer 2010: Vanderbilt University Institute of Chemical Biology - Conducted research on the heme-sensing system of Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) bacteria with the goal of developing a new therapeutic approach to the development of antibiotics.

Post-Graduation Plans: Medical School

Favorite W&L Memory: Parent's Weekend 2010 - Beating Hampden-Sydney in football this past fall to win the ODAC Championship.

Favorite Class: Tie between Poverty 101 and Biochem I.

Favorite Campus Landmark: Wilson Field


There is something intriguingly satisfying about walking straight from an afternoon biochemistry lab into the locker room at Wilson field to put on shoulder pads and a helmet for an evening football practice. While triple-option blocking schemes and metabolic pathways share little in common, I enjoy the challenging process of learning, studying, practicing and executing that is central to both the discipline of chemistry and the sport of football. My experience as a student-athlete at W&L has embodied what I believe is the most valuable and unique quality of this institution--the opportunity to make your time at W&L your own by tailoring your college education to your own individual interests and desires.

Four years ago, I chose W&L for both the myriad opportunities available and the support the school provides to help its students achieve their goals. I knew that it would be a place where I would be challenged academically and could continue my football career on the college level. These expectations have been met and exceeded as I have experienced success and growth as a student, athlete and individual. However, as my time at W&L has progressed, I have come to realize that these resources are only a part of why W&L has been a great fit for me. The strong, life-long relationships that I have developed through the close-knit community at this institution have also enhanced my experiences in the classroom, on the football field and in Lexington.

My experience in the Shepherd Program at W&L has grown to become a significant aspect of my education. It has been an outstanding way for me to focus my undergraduate coursework on my interests and future career goals in healthcare. Through volunteer work at both the Fan Free Clinic in Richmond and the Rockbridge Area Free Clinic in Lexington, the Shepherd Program has allowed me to become more involved in the local community. These service-learning opportunities have been invaluable complements to my interdisciplinary coursework and further exemplify how I have been able to make my W&L experience my own.

While the content and setting may differ substantially between the chemistry classroom, a free clinic and the football field on a fall Saturday, I have learned that the values and lessons acquired are easily interchangeable between the various aspects of my own undergraduate experience. The leadership skills that I developed as a captain on the football field can be applied in academic and community contexts. Similarly, the perseverance and teamwork skills I have acquired as a biochemistry major and community volunteer can be applied to my interactions on the football field and in all areas of my life as a W&L student.

W&L is a special place not only for offering support and opportunities for success in athletics, academics and a host of extracurricular endeavors, but also for fostering strong relationships with professors, coaches, classmates and teammates who all share a similar passion for W&L. Ultimately, this institution provides the benefits that are associated with going to school at a place that is steeped in tradition and history and at the same time is pliable to the specific interests and desires of individual students. Because of this unique quality, I am thankful for the opportunity to attend W&L and am confident that my varied experiences as a student will benefit me long after I graduate.