My W&L: Sejal Mistry
My W&L experience has been defined by my love of biology and my passion for being active in my community. Through W&L’s biology department, I have gotten to research with my advisor over two summers and attend two microbiology conferences. The lab classes that have been offered sparked my desire to make public health and epidemiology my future. I have had the opportunity to travel to Yellowstone, experiment with potentially deadly chemicals, and even did an entire research project in one spring term on snail behavior. It was a little slimy. This is definitely a part of my W&L experience that brings out the science nerd in me.
I have also been extremely fortunate in the two communities I am a part of—the W&L community and the greater Rockbridge area community. The W&L community includes my professors, peers and clubs, and they are a large part of my experience; however, it also includes the little daily interactions with anyone on campus. It is the facilities worker who walks by my library carrel every morning with a smile and a morning greeting, the amazing alumni I have gotten to meet through small coincidences that have become my mentors, and the administration that take the time to get to know you and check up on how you are doing.
Lastly, there is the greater Rockbridge area community. This community has really impacted my W&L experience. Through the Bonner program, I have gotten to work with a number of agencies, like Project Horizon, the Manor, Habitat for Humanity and the Lexington Office on Youth. The relationships I have built with both the staff and the individuals using resources from these agencies are priceless, and I have grown to appreciate the community that surrounds Washington and Lee. Academics can only teach you a fraction of what you’ll learn in life, and because of this I have learned more from this community then W&L could ever give me. This community even led me to declare my poverty and human capabilities minor.
These three aspects of my life all intersect at Washington and Lee University, and they’re all a part of my W&L.
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Hometown: Roanoke, VA
Major(s): Biology Major, Poverty and Human Capabilities Minor
- Volunteer Venture Pre-Orientation Leader
- Bonner Scholar
- Red Cross Club
- Project Horizon Volunteer
- Campus Kitchen Leader
- Plant Functional Ecology with Dr. Hamilton – Yellowstone National Park
- Shepherd Internship – Louisville, Kentucky
Post-Graduation Plans: I would like to take a gap year to gain more experience in public health, and then I will be applying for graduate school programs in Fall 2017.
Favorite Class: I’ve taken a lot of amazing courses at W&L, but my favorite has been Medical Sociology with Professor Chin. I took it my first year, Spring Term, and it has driven my desire to go into public health.
Favorite Campus Landmark: Definitely the Colonnade at night. If I need to take a break from studying or to call a friend, it provides the most relaxing setting.
Why did you choose your major? I’ve been drawn to biology since my high school sophomore year. Ranging from animal behavior to microbiology, my major has continuously engaged my interest of how living organisms on Earth function and behave. I strive for a health profession job as well, and biology is able to satisfy both my interests and my future.
Advice for prospective or first-year students? I would say take a class that makes you uncomfortable, whether that is at W&L or not. Pushing your boundaries, in a healthy way, is a great way to grow. I have taken a number of classes that have been far from anything I would ever take, and I’ve only grown from it. You also realize that it probably isn’t as scary as you had thought it would be.