Parth Vaidya of Stokesdale, NC, is a senior at Wake Forest University, and is majoring in Biology and Psychology, on a pre-med track. Made possible by the Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation, Parth is a Joseph G. Gordon Scholar, a scholarship that is given to up to seven extraordinary students entering Wake Forest University who show exceptional promise and leadership.
We sat down with Parth to learn more about his experience at Wake Forest and his plans after graduation.
What drew you to Wake Forest when applying to schools and what do you enjoy most about this University?
To be honest, I did not want to go to school very close to home. After looking around, and learning more about Wake, I realized that it was a great opportunity. When I received the scholarship, it was too perfect. It was an offer I could not refuse.
Tell us more about your involvement on campus.
Serving and representing others is very important to me, which led me to quickly become involved in student government. My sophomore year I was chair of Campus Life, which allowed me to direct many of the activities on and around campus. I also helped institute Mental Health Week at Wake Forest, something I am very proud to say is still held every year. I currently serve as chief of staff for the Wake Student Government Association. A problem other representatives and I are trying to solve now is the issue of diversity. The president and I just finished adding a new cabinet position representing the Diversity Office. I am also a brother of the fraternity, Chi Psi.
How has your participation on campus led you to become more involved in areas related to your academic focus?
My passion for service goes into my major as well. I have volunteered at the Community Care Clinic of Winston-Salem, which provides care and assistance to those without insurance. It has been a great experience, and a way to practice my Spanish speaking skills. I have worked in nursing home programs for those with memory impairment as part of their therapy programs. I also have been able to work on multiple research projects outside of these experiences.
Tell us a bit more about your research experience at Wake Forest.
After freshman year, I went and completed a neurobiology study with the stipend from the scholarship. I was also able to conduct research while I was in Belize on coral reefs, and later pitch programming ideas on how to promote public protection of the reefs. Now I am working at Alcon, an eyecare company in Fort Worth, in its surgical and medical affairs departments.
What are your plans after graduation?
I am in the applications process now, but am headed to medical school. I am not sure what exactly I want to do, but I am drawn to policy – such as studies in the disparities in public health both in the United States and abroad. My dream job would be to become the United States Surgeon General.
What advice would you give to recipients of the Joseph G. Gordon Scholarship and other Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funded scholarships?
The Joseph G. Gordon Scholarship has given me the opportunity to attend an elite private school. If I didn’t get this scholarship, or if I did not come to Wake, I wouldn’t have had the same opportunities. So, take advantage of all that you are afforded. People do not always get these chances. For new students, jump in and you will remember the experience forever.
To learn more about other recipients of Z. Smith Reynolds Foundation funded scholarships, click here.