Westfall Scholars for Spring 2022 headed for success – Nevada Today

Westfall Scholars for Spring 2022 headed for success – Nevada Today

NevadaToday
The Westfall Scholars, their mentors, Interim Dean McCall and the Westfalls attended the spring 2022 luncheon on April 5.
The Westfall Scholars, their mentors, Interim Dean McCall and the Westfalls attended the spring 2022 luncheon on April 5.
The Westfall Scholars, their mentors, Interim Dean McCall and the Westfalls attended the spring 2022 luncheon on April 5.
The Westfall Scholars for the spring 2022 semester have an impressive list of accomplishments and aspirations. The Westfall Scholars Luncheon celebrates the students with the highest GPAs in each program in the College. The Westfall Scholars award, formerly the Dean’s Senior Scholars award, was created by David Westfall, the founding dean of the College. The luncheon was held on April 5, with the awardees, their friends and family, the acting and associate deans of the College of Science and David and Shirley Westfall in attendance.
Students each chose a mentor who helped them during their undergraduate experience. Those mentors were Jeff Baguley, Jessie Clark, Deanna Colton, Genevieve Debernardis, Edward Ester, William Hammond, Eniko Kocsis, Jesse Krause, Elena Pravosudova, Pavel Solin, Krisztina Voronova and Thomas White.
The awardees each gave a short speech, thanking the Westfalls and the people around them for their support in their academic journeys. The students noted the importance of their support systems in their incredibly successes. Each of the students shared what their next steps are and advice for future students below.
What are your plans after graduating?
I am honored and privileged to say I will be starting my medical school journey in fall of 2022. I am super excited to start this next chapter of my life, as I know it will be a long one. I have been looking forward to it since the day I moved to this country, and now have realized this is only the start to hopefully bigger and better things.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
First of all, I can’t believe four years of undergraduate have gone by that quick, to the point it’s my turn to give advice. The most important advice I could give, and one that I received myself four years ago: ENJOY ALL OF IT! Unlike high school, college is a different world. It’s not just a change in academia, but also it’s a time of growth and development. This is a time where many learn to live independently, be adults, and seek out new adventures. My biggest advice would be to enjoy it all, try new things, take new classes, meet new people, and don’t stress over the little things. Life is much bigger than we realize, and it’s best to enjoy it as much as we can!
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
I hope to have completed my residency in a specialty that I enjoy and feel connected with. I hope to also be having my own medical practice here in Nevada, contributing and giving back to the people and communities that I grew up in and have helped shape me into the man I am today.
What are your plans after graduating? 
After graduation, I plan to take a couple years off of school to travel and see the world. My first stop will be a music festival in Stockholm, Sweden this summer! Then, I eventually want to return to a college campus for graduate school. My ultimate goal is to be a university professor, so I can impact students’ lives like so many of my incredible professors and mentors did for me. 
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
My biggest piece of advice for incoming freshmen is to establish good habits early on. Find a good study group, set goals for yourself, decide what kind of student you want to be. It’s also important to be engaged. Go to every lecture, introduce yourselves to your professors, take good notes, try to soak everything in because it is a massive privilege to be able to attend a university! My freshman year, I struggled with the transition from high school where everything seemed easier. College is a whole different world and it’s important to realize that as soon as possible!
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
In fifteen years, I see myself hopefully working or researching on a college campus somewhere, graduated with a master’s or Ph.D. (or both). It’s one of my biggest goals to be a lifelong learner so I hope in fifteen years I’m still learning and maybe even teaching along the way. I see myself happy, fulfilled, and utilizing the skills and life lessons I acquired during my time at the University of Nevada.
“What you get out of your time at a university is a function of how much you put into it – so go all in.”
What are your plans after graduating?
I plan to pursue a career in the medical field, though my exact path has yet to be determined. I have always felt passionately about helping others and improving quality of life, so I want to take some time and find a position that can allow me to do those things in an impactful way.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
I would tell incoming freshmen to get outside of their comfort zone. College is a time for new experiences and finding out all about yourself. Meet everyone you can and do new things, even if you think you might not enjoy it. Spend time thinking critically and never be afraid to ask questions. What you get out of your time at a university is a function of how much you put into it – so go all in.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
I hope to find myself practicing medicine in my own clinic with amazing patients that fuel my love for what I do. I hope to have a family, a dog or two, and live somewhere that allows me to spend my time off in the mountains.
What are your plans after graduating?
My plan after graduation is to go into the industry and get more hands-on experience within the field of chemistry. I want to use what I learned at UNR and find ways to apply and build on my knowledge of chemistry.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
The advice that I would give to incoming college freshmen would be to get involved around campus. Interacting with peers, making friendships, and having a willingness to learn from professors will contribute to an enjoyable and memorable college experience.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
I hope that in fifteen years I will have continued to expand on my passion and knowledge for chemistry, either through a graduate program or through the industry.
What are your plans after graduating?
After graduation I hope to continue my employment through the City of Reno and work within the planning and development department. I am excited to combine my knowledge of human geography and translate those efforts towards improving the quality of life in our community.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
My advice for freshmen is that it is completely okay to change your major as long as you follow your passions alongside them. It is easier and more exciting to get through college with a subject you enjoy rather than one you don’t. As a first-generation student, this was a hard decision to overcome but in the end, it really worked out. My last piece is that if you want to make connections and have a range of opportunities, go speak with professors and outreach coordinators. Chances are, you both have lots of interests and will get along just fine.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
In fifteen years, I hope to have traveled to at least five other countries and possibly have been employed, done research, or completed my master’s. Although being employed is the bare minimum I hope to attain, my experience and fulfillments will come along so long as I have the opportunity to follow my passions.
What are your plans after graduating?
I plan to find work in geophysics, geodetics or an earth science field directly after graduation, and work on my graduate school applications in my spare time.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
Trust in the Lord with all your heart. And not in yourself. Trust Him in everything you do, and it’s going to work out in the end. Also, download your professors’ online notes and PowerPoints for future reference.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
I plan to use spaced-based geophysical techniques to measure solid earth deformation in response to natural hazards like volcanoes, or climate change. I would like to connect the large-scale phenomena I study to dynamic surface processes like river evolution, local weather patterns, and earthquakes.
What are your plans after graduating?
After graduation, I plan to work full time for Nevada Wealth Management – a private wealth management team backed by UBS Financial Services. I have always been interested in the financial industry, and I am excited to gain experience and connections. I have been working part time here for about six months now, and I am looking forward to contributing as much as I can to the team.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
My most important piece of advice for incoming freshman is to get involved in the University and find interests and groups to explore outside of academics. As a freshman, I was not very involved. Then, due to COVID, my next two years were the same by default. The one thing I regret in my college career is not participating in clubs and activities that brought me joy.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
I can’t imagine what my life will be like in 15 years. I feel as though I have endless opportunities ahead of me, but it is challenging to decide on a path. I am hoping to take some time after graduation to explore different hobbies and passions, from which I can decide how I want to spend the rest of my life.
What are your plans after graduating?
After graduation, I plan to apply to medical school to become a physician. My goal is to become a psychiatrist practicing in Northern Nevada to give back to the community.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
Try as many things as you can. Join groups that are outside of your comfort zone. You might find something that you did not know you loved. If you are not enjoying your major, do not be afraid to change it. Right now is the best time to figure out what you are passionate about.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
I hope to have finished medical school and be practicing medicine in Northern Nevada. I hope I am working to bring more awareness to mental health and to create an environment that makes all people feel comfortable enough to ask for help.

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What are your plans after graduating?
After graduating, I will be working for Nevada Gold Mines as an Open Pit Engineer at their Gold Quarry mine site.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
The most important piece of advice I could give an incoming freshmen is to get involved in any extracurricular activity. It is a great way to meet people with similar interests as you. It helped me out tremendously during my college experience because upperclassmen would advise me what classes to avoid taking during the same semester due to heavy workloads. I also enjoyed participating in the intramural leagues and found it to be a good stress reliever as it allowed me to take my mind off school and enjoy myself. I think it’s important to take care of your mental health and do the things that bring joy to you.
Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
I am not sure where I see myself in 15 years, but I sure do hope that whatever I am doing makes me happy. I hope I will have a job that brings a balanced life allowing me time to do my hobbies. I hope to have been able to become someone’s mentor and give them the same advice that I am being given. One thing I do know for sure is I will still have an amazing family and group of friends that will continue to support me.
What are your plans after graduating?
After graduation, I plan to take a gap year and focus on researching, substitute teaching, and traveling. I also plan on applying for graduate school for a master’s degree and eventually a Ph.D. in Neuroscience.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
Take time for yourself. College can be a rough time and it’s important to find a balance between school and your personal life. Set aside time to do activities that you enjoy! Start a new art project, go laser-tagging with your friends, have a movie night, etc.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
In 15 years, I see myself as a professor with at least a couple of research publications under my belt. I also hope to have a large array of animations made to help future students through their tough biology classes and to make academic resources more accessible to a wider demographic of people.
What are your plans after graduating?
After graduating, I will be continuing my education at the University of Arizona, Phoenix-College of Medicine.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
To incoming freshman, follow your passions and don’t compare yourself to others. I remember when I first started at the University, I already knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine. I remember initially being consumed with the idea that I needed to get involved, do well in my classes, and ultimately “check the boxes” so I could be successful at getting into medical school. This led me to waste so much of my freshman year doing things I didn’t actually care about. I was constantly comparing myself to others and forcing myself to do certain things because other people achieved my goals by doing similar things. After being miserable and almost changing my career aspirations, I decided to do only what I genuinely cared about and stopped comparing myself to others. As a result, I got so much more out of my courses, experiences, and relationships and was able to use college as a time to figure out who I am and what I want.
Where do you see yourself in 15 years?
In 15 years, I hope to return back to Nevada to practice medicine for my community!

What are your plans after graduating?
Next fall I will begin working on my Ph.D. in Plasma Physics at Princeton University.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
Try to concern yourself only with what interests you, with what brings you into a state of contentment, and with what makes you truly fulfilled. In the wake of this I have found that your path forward, and everything else for that matter, will work itself out naturally. Shine on in whatever way is truest to you. 
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
This is a really difficult question to answer. In making the choices that I have made throughout my life I have done my best to approach life empirically, and to avoid marrying myself to any a priori dispositions I may have. If I were forced to guess, I would say that I see myself enjoying whatever it is that I am doing. I love physics, and can easily see myself staying in physics and working at a national lab. However, if at the end of, or even during, my Ph.D. I find that physics no longer teaches me anything and that my time would be better spent elsewhere, I am completely open to leaving science and devoting myself to writing, music, or anything I have true passion for.
What are your plans after graduating?
After graduation I am joining Dr. Caterina Gratton’s lab at Florida State University where I will be contributing to research on functional connectivity.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
For incoming freshmen my biggest piece of advice would be to be confident in yourself and your abilities. UNR is special because your college experience can be whatever you want it to be. I think it’s important to join clubs, do research, try to volunteer to explore your interests and get the most from UNR beyond class.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
In fifteen years, I hope to be a professor with my own research lab and happy with the life that I have lived so far.
What are your plans after graduating?
After I graduate I will be attending the couple and family therapy Master’s program at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Becoming a couple and family therapist has been my goal since before I began my undergraduate education. I am glad to be reaching towards this goal already.
What is the most important piece of advice you’d give to an incoming college freshman?
I would passionately recommend talking to faculty and taking advantage of office hours. Speaking with faculty allowed me to pursue undergraduate research, ask questions to get better grades on assignments, and ultimately receive recommendation letters.
Where do you see yourself in fifteen years?
In fifteen years I hope to be a practicing marriage and family therapist. I want to have received my license to practice and be working toward further certifications, such as becoming Gottman-certified. 

State geologists gather in the Sierras for annual meeting
The 2022 meeting is being hosted by the Nevada Bureau of Mines and Geology.

Celebrating award-winning students in the College of Science
This year, seven students won awards from the Board of Regents or the University.

Ana de Bettencourt-Dias named Foundation Professor
de Bettencourt-Dias has a lengthy list of contributions to her field, as well as invaluable service to the University and its students.

Linda Hayes recognized with Distinguished Faculty Award
The psychology professor, who has worked at the University for 32 years, received the award in her final year before retirement.

Off-season cattle grazing to help control fire danger from invasive cheatgrass
Banner year for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards
Computer science researcher plans to use machine learning to improve cancer treatments
Sagebrushers ep. 3: Teaching Professor Sarah Cummings
Off-season cattle grazing to help control fire danger from invasive cheatgrass
New University of Nevada, Reno study utilizes supplemental feeding to attract cattle to infested pastures

GSA Spring Awards honor student achievement
Almost $70,000 in awards and scholarships presented during GSA Spring Awards

School of Public Health celebrates diversity, equity and inclusion
School’s DEI committee shares how students, faculty and staff can access DEI resources

Wolves on Wheels: Alex Vanderhoff
Avid mountain biker Alex Vanderhoff shares her love of local trails. Whether you’re a rain-or-shine bike commuter, a frequenter of the downhill mountain bike trails north of campus or you enjoy a mellow ride on a sunny day, we want to hear your story!

University of Nevada, Reno Extension completes director search
Jacob DeDecker brings lifetime of experience in Extension to lead programs in Nevada

Accomplished professor wins University’s Excellence in Laboratory Safety Award
Mae Gustin sets example for prioritizing student safety in labs with chemicals

Sustainable resource management research the focus of new open-access journal
Metallurgical Engineering professor Ehsan Vahidi to serve as associate editor of Frontiers in Sustainable Resource Management

Banner year for NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program awards
An all-time high of 13 student-awardees affiliated with the University of Nevada, Reno receive the prestigious NSF fellowship

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