Henzee Machado

Undergraduate student majoring in Biology/Pre-med. 

Striving & Thriving at VCU talks to Henzee about her career aspirations and her experience establishing SACNAS at VCU.

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What is your major and envisioned career path?

I'm a biology major and plan to go to medical school. I chose biology just because I really liked it in high school. It's a class that I found interesting, and I was always engaged in it, and I was also pretty good at it. I also took anatomy, which also gave me some insight into the kind of career I wanted to go into because both deal with similar topics. Both took me in the direction of pursuing a career in medicine. Currently, I'm thinking of taking a gap year just to get more clinical shadowing hours and do medical scribing for a little bit just to get more insight into what it's actually like to be a doctor day to day life.

Tell us about SACNAS at VCU.

I’m one of the co-presidents of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Our mission is to empower historically underrepresented students in Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) here on campus. Currently, our biggest events would be our networking events, which would be our cafecitos, which is when we invite STEM professionals to talk about their journey in STEM, how they got there, and any advice they have for current students interested in pursing a similar career path. We also do professional development events as well as social events to help foster a community here on campus so that students feel supported and not scared to  pursue a career in STEM. We recently submitted our application to become a formally recognized chapter, which is exciting!  It’s really gratifying to see our vision come to fruition, which is to establish an organization at VCU that will always provide a space for historically underrepresented students to be heard and supported as they pursue their desired careers.

Why did you come to VCU to study biology?

I wanted to come to VCU because its a diverse university. I grew up in a small town in Virginia that was not very diverse, so I wanted to get out and just grow as a person.

What are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about helping the community. Growing up I was always translating for my mom at the doctor's office because she did not know English. I grew up in a  town in Virginia  where there just weren't a lot of people that looked like me. These experiences growing up motivated me to pursue a career in medicine because I want to be that person that can help and be there for the Latinx community at the doctor's office, which can help overcome that stigma of not really trusting medicine.

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What is your favorite study spot on campus?

The library. I usually study in the second floor in one of the little cubbies.

How would you describe living in Richmond?

Different but really exciting. Just a lot of things to do and great food.

Describe yourself in three words.

Kind, powerful, and passionate.

Who do you respect and admire?

My mom and dad.

What is most rewarding about being in STEM?

Knowing that you'll make a difference.

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

I didn't actually think I would continue to pursue medicine, but here I am.

 

What do you do the first 30 minutes of your day?

I usually stay in bed. I drink water first just to stay hydrated because I've been really bad about that. I'm trying to pick up that habit. Then I usually just scroll on my phone.

Favorite thing to do after an exam?

Watching s show on Netflix and relaxing.

What's your favorite ice cream flavor?

Cookies and cream

What's your zodiac sign?

Aries

What's your favorite place in Richmond?

I like the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. It's very quiet and always changing.

Cooking or baking?

Cooking

 

Favorite season?

Fall

A place you want to travel to is...

Paris

Go to coffee shop order?

Chai tea latte

Favorite dish?

Carne asada

Name a guilty pleasure you have.

Watching true crime docs on Netflix or YouTube.

What have been your biggest obstacle in this journey?

The COVID-19 pandemic. It really made me doubt.

 

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

I would pursue law and work with immigration reform.

What is your favorite STEM related course?

I really liked my medicinal botany class because I got to learn about alternative medicine.

How many languages do you speak?

Two, english and spanish.

What's your favorite Disney movie?

Tingle

Favorite VCU event that you have attended?

The Ram Spirit Walk where you walk around the city.

What scares you?

Ghosts and demons.

 

Cats or dogs?

Dogs