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Ennzo Ortega

VCU alumnus that majored in biology

Striving & Thriving at VCU talks to Ennzo about his interest in pursuing a career in research and what led him to serve as the 2022 SACNAS at VCU Chapter Co-President. 

Ennzo Ortega: Activities
Ennzo Ortega: List

What is your major and envisioned career path?

I'm a biology major and my envisioned career path is to pursue a PhD, possibly in molecular biology, but I'm going to look into other fields like oral health. I’m still trying to figure out what I really want to go into but I know that I love research and being in the lab, so I believe that's the best career path for me.

Why did you choose VCU for your undergraduate studies?

VCU has always been my dream school ever since I was a kid. I grew up in Chesterfield, Virginia. I moved down here when I was like ten and went to school there. Besides the fact that I like being close to home, I just love the environment that I saw here at VCU. So many of my friends went there and graduated and they really enjoyed it. I felt like I could really have a place here.

How did you come to the realization that you want to pursue a career in research?

Definitely talking to my professors, especially my boss, who I consider like a mentor. She really broke down how much goes into research and all the different things that you can do with research. I’m inspired by the idea of endless possibilities and I'm also nerd, so I just love science and learning. Seeing examples of what other people have done with their PhDs, it's just like, wow, I think this is something that I could really pursue and be happy doing all my life.

Why did you join the SACNAS at VCU chapter?

What drove me to join SACNAS was the mission of addressing the lack of diversity that we often see in the STEM fields. Being a Latino male, I know that it's something that I've noticed being in classes or seeing the faculty and not seeing that much representation. That’s mainly what drove me to be part of SACNAS. I wanted to raise awareness of the lack of diversity in STEM fields and to help provide a space for other students who might be in the same position, who feel like there isn't that much representation or people that they can connect with in their fields of study.

I decided to be part of the SACNAS at VCU chapter leadership because I felt like I had a lot of ideas that I wanted to bring into the table as far as how to progress the club forward, how we can reach out more, and how we can continue to be that space for people who might need it.

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25 Questions

What is your favorite study spot on campus?

Definitely Cabell Library fourth floor because I love the quiet environment it provides. 

How would you describe living in Richmond?

I would say that it's amazing. It's definitely unique from other cities I've visited. I love the nature, the city walks, and there's so much to do. 

Who do you respect and admire most?

My mom

Describe yourself in three words

Quiet, caring, and hardworking.

Favorite Holiday


What is something you never thought you would see yourself doing?

Honestly just attending college. I never thought that I'd be able to actually go to school and get a bachelor's degree and continue to pursue graduate school. There was a point in my life where that never came across my mind. 

Ennzo Ortega: List
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What is the most rewarding about being in a STEM field?

Seeing all your hard work pay off.

Favorite thing to do after an exam?

Literally nothing. I just turn off my brain and relax. 

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?


What's your zodiac sign?


What's your favorite place in Richmond?

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Cooking or baking?


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Favorite season?


A place you want to travel to is...


Go to coffee shop?


Favorite dish?


Name a guilty pleasure you have.

Candy. Once I get it I eat way too much.

What is something new happening in your life?

I graduated from VCU!

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What has been your biggest obstacle in this journey?

Learning how to effectively study because one method for one class may not work for the other. 

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

I would say something in music. I am a musician and grew up playing instruments. I play the piano, guitar, drums, and bass guitar.

How many languages do you speak?

Spanish and English.

Who is your favorite professor?

My boss Dr. Dickinson.

What is your least favorite STEM class?


What scares you?


Ennzo Ortega: List

Sunrise or sunset?


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