Mark Zaki


I came to Pitt focused on ultimately going to medical school. As I started exploring different classes and organizations, however, I realized I had many interests within and outside of medicine. Next spring, I will be graduating with a double degree in Neuroscience and History and Philosophy of Science, a minor in Chemistry, and a certificate in Conceptual Foundations of Medicine.

Throughout my time at Pitt, the UHC has enriched my undergraduate experience in countless ways. Some of my closest friends were first met in Honors Housing. Taking honors courses also challenged me to actively understand information in ways rarely found in other classes, while serving as a teaching assistant has allowed me to pursue education from the role of a teacher as well as a student. With the generous support of the UHC, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences, NIH, and the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, I have been able to investigate the biological basis of schizophrenia under the outstanding mentorship of Dr. David Lewis at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

Additionally, the UHC provided me with the opportunity to spend a year abroad studying at the University of Cambridge. Working in architecture dating back to the thirteenth century and meeting Prof. Stephen Hawking are a couple of the many experiences I will not soon forget, while the values and friendships I’ve acquired abroad will last a lifetime. I have also been involved with many other organizations, including founding Pitt’s Coptic Orthodox Youth Association, tutoring Somali-Bantu refugee children through Keep it Real, and participating in a medical brigade to Honduras with Global Brigades.

As a UHC ambassador, I am fortunate enough to share the incredible experience I’ve had with my community. For me, the best part about the UHC is how easily you can tailor its numerous benefits into your personal interests – both in and out of the classroom. Such experiences thus not only nurture you as a student, but also as an individual; this holistic approach is what makes the UHC truly exceptional.