#PROFspective: Translational Biomedical Science Major Zachary Padron

Today, we speak with Zachary Padron, a junior translational biomedical science major from Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County) who lives on campus as a resident assistant in Rowan’s townhouse complex. Zachary will share his #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how he gets the most out of his college experience as a Rowan Prof.

young male student wearing white lab coat and protective eyewear in a lab

Your Name: Zachary Padron
Your Major: Translation Biomedical Science
Your Minors: Bantivoglio Honors Concentration in the Honors CollegePre-Medical Minor, Neuroscience Minor, and Ethics Certificate of Undergraduate Study
Your Year: Junior
Hometown and County: Hamilton, NJ (Mercer County)
Resident: Yes, I live as a Resident Assistant in the Townhouse Complex
Academic Organizations: American Physician Scientist Association (Research Chair Executive Board Member)
Social Clubs: President of Colleges Against Cancer and Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship
On-Campus Employment: Resident Assistant for the Townhouse Complex
Off-Campus Employment: Research Assistant in the Neuroscience Research Lab at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia during the summer

young male student standing in the foreground with a brown statue of Henry M. Rowan in the background

Why did you choose Rowan?
I chose Rowan University for multiple reasons, but the most specific causes were the cost and the STEM programs offered. The out-of-state colleges I researched were overpriced, but after researching schools in New Jersey I found that Rowan would offer me the best opportunities. The smaller class sizes combined with the structure of my major were the last benefits that made me feel confident in choosing Rowan. I truly felt that because of these things, I would ultimately be prepared for my goal of attending medical school.

Young male student leaning on lab counter, analyzing tests

What moment did you become truly passionate about Translational Biomedical Sciences?
The start of my sophomore year, when all translational biomedical science students are required to do research, I was attending Dr. Soto’s neuroscience lab – lab that I’m now working in as a student worker. From the beginning of this class I knew I enjoyed research; however, being a part of a lab, conducting experiments, working with the equipment, and discussing various directions we can take our research has made me realize that I truly want to make a career out of this.

Working with Dr. Ileana Soto Reyes, a professor in my program, has been such an amazing experience. She’s truly a visionary – diligently working to make sure that our research is going in the desired direction and that we also learn practical research skills. During my experiences working with Dr. Soto she has continued to nurture my growth; allowing me to work on individual projects, conduct neuroscience research, and produce formal poster and seminar style presentations. My advancements are thanks to her, and because of this I’m grateful for having this opportunity.

young male student looking into a microscope
Zachary analyzing test results through a microscope

Describe an experience at Rowan that made you feel your future goals and ambitions were being supported.
The Office of Health Professions put a lot of work into advising and guiding me throughout my entire college experience. They sponsor weekly workshops held on Fridays and the ones I’ve attended have ultimately helped me with planning my future goal of attending medical school. These workshops can include guest speakers from medical schools, seminars on the admission process, and also assist students with staying on track in terms of taking their MCAT (the Medical College Admission Test is a computer-based standardized examination for prospective medical students) or fulfilling course requirements.

A grouping of four pipettes with a purple-square magnet that says "Keep Calm and Pipette On"

Describe a typical day you experience here at Rowan.
This semester my busiest days are Tuesdays; which are packed with courses, club responsibilities, and some other obligations. My day starts at 9:30 a.m. in the research lab with Dr. Soto. A majority of my work here involves fluorescent microscopy and image analysis of brain tissue samples. Then I continue my day with some courses that include: Honors Medical Writing and Rhetoric at 12:30 p.m., Physiological Psychology at 2:00 p.m., and Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience at 3:30 p.m. Afterwards, I get a two-hour break in which I use to complete assignments, study, prep for club meetings, or perform RA responsibilities. At 7 p.m., a couple of friends from my Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship come to my apartment for a meeting I lead. Around 8:45 p.m. I get ready for my Colleges Against Cancer general committee meeting, and I end my night around 11:00 p.m. with some homework. It sounds like a lot of work, but being here at Rowan is so much fun and I enjoy everything I do it never really feels overwhelming.

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Story and photography by:
Alexander Belli, senior public relations and advertising double major