Vanessa Vergara

Undergraduate student majoring in Biology on the pre-dentistry track.

Striving & Thriving at VCU talks to Vanessa about why she chose VCU, what she's passionate about, and some stereotypes among her major. Read the full story below!

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An interview with Vanessa

Why did you choose to come to VCU to study biology?

I chose VCU because I really liked how they represented diversity. I also chose VCU because I thought it would help me in the long run into being accepted into a dental school.

What are some stereotypes about students in your major?

One stereotype is that a lot of students are probably really really smart or just naturally understanding of everything. But, after taking a few of the upper-level classes it just shows that everyone is in it together and we all try to help each other out. Another stereotype is that it is really competitive, and I feel like it might be true but me being here, so many people have helped me to better understand the classes that I’m taking. Another stereotype is that it is dominated by men but VCU is majority women, and the majority of my classes are also women. I think that is also really cool.

What are you passionate about?

One thing I am really passionate about, looking at it from a future career sense, is that I really want people to be able to have accessible health care and not worry about having to pay for something that they really need. That is why I worked at a health clinic, because the majority of the patients there were on Medicare, so they went, and they did not have to worry about how they were going to pay for their treatment. Other things I am passionate about would be different hobbies of mine. I like to collect different collectibles. Animals, I really like animals I love animals. I’m also passionate about trying to have minorities be not afraid to enter a certain field because it might not include people that look like them, you know, try to break the norm.

What advice would you give future STEM students? 

Probably the most important advice is to take breaks. It’s hard for me even now but try not to worry about getting the perfect grade. It’s better to try to be understanding of the materials you learn. Make sure that you’re taking care of your physical and mental health. Also, C’s are not the end of the world. I got a C in Organic Chemistry, and here I am about to graduate! I talked to some people at the VCU dental school that say I look like I’m a good candidate so it’s not the end of the world.