Emily Torres

Undergraduate student majoring in HPEX with a health sciences concentration 

Striving & Thriving at VCU talks to Emily about her interests, what it means to her to be a STEM student, and more.

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What interested you in STEM?

In high school I always enjoyed my science classes and thought they were fun. I felt science was more hands on than other courses and very relevant to everyday life. I then became interested specifically in healthcare because  of my family experiences with the healthcare system. I've seen how healthcare workers have impacted my family's life so it would be a great honor for me to also have that impact in the lives of others.

What are you passionate about?

I would say I'm passionate about amplifying people’s voices. Whether that be when I was working in the hospital and standing up for my patients (if something happened to them or a nurse forgot to check something for them) or with our work at SACNAS at VCU where we strive to provide underrepresented students a platform to get opportunities that maybe they would not have known of or that maybe they would have been looked over if it wasn't for this organization. So, I am  passionate about helping people. I don't want people to feel like left out. I want people to feel included and heard.

Why did you come to VCU to study HPEX?

When I came to VCU I was actually undeclared and I didn't really know what I wanted to study. I was initially drawn to VCU because my cousin graduated from this university. I also really wanted to see what life was like in the city.

What does it mean to you to be a STEM student?

Being a STEM student to me means having to work very hard. In high school I would study a lot. When I came to college, I continued to study a lot just like my classmates.  STEM students in general work hard to get to where they are.

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1) What advice would you give to minoritized students interested in STEM?

Don't feel discouraged by the lack of representation in the fields that you want to go into because it's an opportunity for you to make a path for people who are coming behind you and who want to do that as well. So keep on working hard.

2) If you could major in a non-STEM major, what would it be and why?

Interior design because I love decorating and I think learning about it is really cool.

3) What has been your favorite Stem related course that you have taken so far?

Organic chemistry with Dr. G.

4) What influenced you to choose a career in the stem field?

My family history and wanting to make a difference and be a voice for people who are underrepresented.

5) Sweet or salty?

Sweet

6) What's your guilty pleasure?

Sweets. All sweets. I love candy and  brownies.

7) Favorite dish?

I love Mac and cheese, baked beans, and ribs. I love Southern food.

8) What is your go to coffeeshop order?

A Chai latte with almond milk

9) A place you want to travel to?

Fiji

10) Favorite season?

Fall

11) Cooking or baking?

Baking

12) Favorite place in Richmond?

The canal or  somewhere by the water.

13) Favorite movie?

Crazy Rich Asians

14) What's your Zodiac sign?

Aries

15) Favorite ice cream flavor?

Chocolate chip cookie dough

16) What's your favorite thing to do after an exam?

If it's around campus, I'll go down to the basement floor and buy myself a snickers bar from the vending machine.

17) Describe your first 30 minutes of your day.

I would say I push the Snooze button the whole time. I have about 20 alarms.

18) What is something you've never thought you would see yourself doing?

Honestly, being Co-President of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/ Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) at VCU. I never thought I would be in an organization at VCU and let alone have some kind of executive position. I always thought it was so scary. I could never do that.

19) What do you respect and admire the most?

I feel like people who know what their priorities are and they really know their own values and stuff, and they don't let themselves be taken off the path based on what other people do.

20) What's your favorite holiday?

Christmas

21) Describe yourself in three words.

Always helping others.

22) How would you describe living in Richmond?

I would say interesting and creative.

23) What career path are you interested in pursuing after you graduate?

Being a physician assistant. They are now called physician associates.

24) What clubs and orgs where you involved in during undergrad and now as a dental student?

I'm part of Latinx Student Association, PRE-Physician Assistant Club, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) at VCU.

25) What is your favorite study spot on campus?

Cabell Library, third floor by the windows.