My Summer at Mayo
Zach Reichert, a junior biology pre-med honors student, had the awesome opportunity to intern this past summer at Mayo Clinic, the largest integrated nonprofit medical group practice in the world. We sat down and talked with him to hear more about his amazing experience.
Hometown: Berrien Springs, MI
Major: Biology Pre-Med
Expected Graduation Date: May 2016
Hobbies: Anything outdoors, running, mountain biking, hiking
What's Next: Pursue Medical Scientist Training Program (MSTP)
So Zach, how did you get the opportunity to intern at Mayo Clinic?
Since the summer of my freshman year, I've done behavioral ecology research with Jim Hayward, Andrews University research professor of biology, in Northwest Washington. Dr. Hayward shared with me that he was talking to one of his colleagues who attended Andrews and is now working at Mayo Clinic in the field of neurobiology. Dr. Hayward connected us and I wound up doing research under him at Mayo during the summer of 2014!
Phenomenal! So voicing your interest in research to Dr. Hayward led to an internship with Mayo Clinic this past summer. How would you describe Mayo Clinic?
During the time I was at Mayo Clinic the "U.S. News and World Report" ranked Mayo as top in the country for neurosurgery and neurology. It was amazing being there seeing how individuals who are top in their field pursue science and medicine. In a lot of ways, their institution has very similar values to an institution like Andrews in terms of pursuing excellence.
What did you do during your internship at Mayo Clinic?
The goal of the lab was to find out how we can treat patients with spinal cord injuries and help them live through the injury. Not a lot is known on what is happening on the cellular and molecular level. The overarching goal was to find treatments for damaged nerves to regrow back to the way they were before.
The research you were doing was definitely in-depth. Would you say Andrews adequately prepared you for this research experience?
Andrews definitely prepared me for my experience at Mayo. Going to Mayo, I understood how science should be done and how to approach research because I had many opportunities to implement and present research at Andrews. One of the benefits of Andrews is that it is pretty simple to find a professor to do research with. I was very comfortable because I have done research since my freshman year.
"The standard of quality here, the education you get here, can prepare you and teach you to be a successful person in the same way that almost any other Ivy League institution can."
How wonderful that you could enter your research experience at a high-quality facility like Mayo with confidence. How would you compare the standard of quality at Andrews University compared to Mayo Clinic?
What I saw at Mayo gave me more confidence as a student that the standard of quality at Andrews is nearly the same in my opinion as the quality at Mayo. By that I mean, a lot of times it is easy to think, " I am doing a good job here at Andrews, but I wonder if I would be doing a good job if I were at Stanford or Harvard or somewhere like that.” I wondered that myself all the time. What I realized over the summer is that the good people here are like the good people anywhere else. If you live up to the high academic standards at Andrews, you will be doing fine anywhere else. The standard of quality here, the education you get here, can prepare you and teach you to be a successful person in the same way that almost any other Ivy League institution can.