Celeste Acosta is a Molecular and Cellular Biology major at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. Read on to learn about her first year at UIUC, and her views on being a Pullman Scholar!
My parents always emphasized the importance of going to college – especially because they were not able to go themselves. College has always been the place where I would expand my knowledge about the world and people, both in the classroom and beyond. As a first-generation college student, attending college also drew a sense of fulfillment and achievement for myself and my family. It’s one step to obtaining a life-long career.
My hobbies include photography, listening to music, dancing, and journaling. A lot of my hobbies bring out my creative side since I study STEM related things in school.
I’ve always liked taking pictures of moments that I know I’ll cherish for a long time. This is the main reason why I always run out of phone storage. Listening to music from different eras and different languages is something I love to do. Good music always makes my day better. I used to be a dancer from the ages of 3 to 11. It’s always been a part of me that I can’t let go, despite not performing in such a long time. Journaling is one of those things that I don’t do consistently but when I do, I gain a lot of mental clarity by writing out what I truly feel and why.
My favorite aspect of college is finally being in control of my education and falling in love with learning again. It sounds a bit strange, but I love having the freedom to learn what I am truly interested in and discovering even more interests through that. It’s a feeling that I haven’t had since elementary school. I also love meeting new people and making friends that have similar interests as me.
If I could describe my first semester experience it would be a trial-and-error experience. I felt like I was constantly adjusting to the environment and to the pace of college level classes. For a majority of the semester it was quite overwhelming. However, I learned a lot about what works for me academically and what I have to do personally to be at my best and put in my full effort into my studies. Overall, first semester was a huge learning experience and it definitely prepared me well for second semester.
The thing that I love about being a Pullman Scholar is the sense of community and connection. Not only do I feel connected to my Pullman Scholar peers, as some of them also go to my college, but I am connected to other resources that I wouldn’t have learned about through the Pullman Scholar community. I also love the sense of encouragement that I get from other scholars’ achievements throughout their college journey! Being a Pullman Scholar to me means always putting my best foot forward despite any situation and taking initiative when it comes to embarking on a new opportunity. Being part of this community encourages me to become the best version of myself in order to one day give back to others.
Javohn is enrolled at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and majors in Biology/Pre-Med. Read more to learn about his college experience so far!
The first thing that drew me to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) was its outstanding reputation and unique medical school. It was a flagship, Big Ten school in Illinois, which was great because I didn’t want to wander too far away from home. In addition to its reputation, UIUC’s medical school has a more hands-on approach than a usual medical school – a product of an engineering focus. Once I knew all UIUC had to offer, it was unequivocally where I wanted to attend.
My passion is definitely medicine. Most of my extracurricular activities involve medicine. I love learning about the journey to medical school (MCAT, interviews, application phase, etc.) through my medical fraternity called Phi Delta Epsilon. Furthermore, I enjoy shadowing surgeons, volunteering as an EMS aide, and volunteering at hospitals. As far as my hobbies, I like to play basketball and read skill-oriented books (how to invest, how to flip houses, etc.).
The most pleasing aspect of college for me has been the educational gains. In such a short amount of time, I have learned so much more than expected. I can honestly say that I have gained knowledge both inside and outside of class, thanks to my extracurricular activities.
Overall my first semester of college has been such a pleasant, mind-opening experience. My high school excelled in academics, so my transition to college was not as much of a battle education-wise. Coming into college, I did not know what I wanted to get involved in and how involved I would become. Now, I deeply involve myself in both my academic life and outside of class. In a short amount of time, I became the Treasurer of Florida Council, fraternity member of Phi Delta Epsilon, EMS Aide in Illini Emergency Medical Service, and a Habitat for Humanity volunteer. Next semester, I look forward to participating in biological research on combating bacterial pathogens with therapeutics in a research and development lab, becoming an EMT, and possibly a Resident Advisor.
There are so many things that I love about being a Pullman Scholar. I love the fact that the Pullman Foundation stays in touch with Pullman Scholars year-round. Not only that, but the
Pullman Foundation hosts several events for scholars to reconnect. Being a part of the Pullman Scholars and Pullman Foundation is synonymous to being a part of an intelligent family that supports your aspirations.
Sebastian is currently enrolled at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). He is a Biology major, violin player, and volunteer. Since he started, his first semester has been full of new experiences. Read on to learn more about Sebastian.
The opportunities available such as, a strong Biology curriculum, the chance to expand my violin skills, and my strong friendships drew me to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
My passions are playing the violin, building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and the intersection of genetics and medicine. This is how I spend much of my time
favorite aspect is being free to explore whatever interests me and pursue it to
I like the community, connections, and opportunities that the Pullman Scholar community and its Foundation offer me. Pullman Scholars are open-minded citizens. We use our talents and abilities to pursue our passions. Thus, we make the world a better place.