Chad Stein

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When I accepted my offer of admittance to the University of Pittsburgh late my senior year of high school, I was confident I knew exactly what I wanted to study – Bioengineering. After orientation at PittStart several weeks later, I realized I was uninterested in BioE and, with little warning to my parents or advisor, switched to my current major, Molecular Biology. While I didn’t realize it at the time, that moment of realization was my start into discovering what I really wanted to learn versus what I thought I wanted to learn. This process is still ongoing for me, and has been fostered in large part by my experiences with the UHC and its tight-knit community of students, staff, and faculty.

Before arriving at Pitt, I knew I wanted to study some form of biology, but living in Honors Housing my freshman and sophomore years helped me to expand my interests beyond my major. Talking to students interested in things like political science, philosophy, and linguistics made me realize that there are many interesting subjects to explore outside of the natural sciences in comparatively little time – at least as an undergraduate.

The UHC provided me numerous other opportunities to investigate new and exciting academic disciplines. As a two-time Brackenridge Fellow, I have had the unique opportunity to present my own independent research on the biochemistry of cancer cells to a group of my peers both inside and outside of my field.  In return, I have learned about important work being done by undergraduates with faculty all across campus, from the humanities to the social and natural sciences. I was also able to enhance my educational and research experiences abroad through the UHC’s scholarship advising and other financial support. 

I am incredibly grateful for all of the opportunities the UHC has provided me, and am confident my university experience would not have been as enriching without it.