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Meet Andrea Beck

Andrea Beck

Major: Biology

Minors: Spanish, Chemistry

Hometown: Winston-Salem, NC

Andrea earned preseason All-ACC honors for the second season in a row, and was named to the Capital One Academic All-America first team. She has been accepted to the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and been granted a one year deferral so she can play professional volleyball in Europe next year.

“This is a dream come true. I’ll travel the world while playing the sport I love, and in the fall of 2014, I’ll return to pursue a medical career,” says Beck. “My education and experiences at Wake Forest have truly prepared me for this next stage of my life, and I cannot wait to see what the future has in store.”

Q: How have you changed since your first year on campus?

A: I have a clearer sense of who I am. My experiences on campus as a student, an athlete, and a person have challenged me, and through these obstacles I have become more aware of my strengths and weaknesses. The freedom and independence I’ve enjoyed as an undergraduate have also given me the chance to discover my priorities and to choose how I want to spend my time, which has in turn inspired my career goals.

Q: Tell us about your bee research.

A: Like most people, I get nervous around bees, so it was a bit challenging picking up one-day-old honeybees with my bare hands and labeling them with paint. However, by the end of my summer research fellowship in professor Susan Fahrbach’s biology lab, I was completely comfortable around “the ladies,” as the lab members call the worker honeybees. My research involved screening for collar Kenyon cells in order to determine the effects of queen mandibular pheromone on neuronal growth, which gave me the opportunity to learn several lab techniques, of which my favorite was honeybee brain dissections. The whole experience was great.

Q: Did you study abroad?

A: I spent five weeks in Salamanca, Spain, working in a medical clinic on weekdays and travelling on the weekends. Because I stayed with a non-English speaking host family, I was forced to develop my Spanish skills through immersion in the culture. My experiences abroad gave me confidence. I encountered countless opportunities to figure things out for myself, while speaking a foreign language and learning to fit into an unfamiliar culture. I encourage every student to find a way to take advantage of Wake’s study abroad opportunities.

Q: What has been your favorite community service project?

A: D.E.S.K., Discovering Education through Student Knowledge, is one of my favorite community service projects. Each year, teams of Wake Forest student volunteers sign up to paint desks for children at a local elementary school. I’ve participated in D.E.S.K. for four years as a member of the volleyball team. This year I had the pleasure of meeting our child at the D.E.S.K. “pre-party” where we talked and did arts and crafts. Serving as a role model for kids is one of the best things about being a student-athlete.

Q: Who has most influenced you during your time at Wake Forest? 

A: This is an incredibly difficult question. If I had to choose just one, I would thank my coaches for providing me with the opportunity to become part of such a wonderful community. Wake Forest has challenged me academically, athletically and personally, allowing me to grow as an individual and pursue my many passions, and I would not trade this experience for anything.

Q: Best advice you were given during your four years at Wake?

A: My coach told me that although it’s sometimes important to step outside my comfort zone, there’s always a way to do so while remaining true to myself. This advice was given with respect to leadership — a skill that does not always come naturally to me, but I know is applicable to nearly every situation. After graduation, I hope to continue challenging myself while maintaining an allegiance to my personal values and beliefs.

Q:  What about campus will you miss most?

A: The Quad. I have many great memories of sunny afternoons in the grass, attending previous graduation ceremonies, volunteering at Project Pumpkin and Hit the Bricks, and speed walking diagonally across the Quad to get to class on time. One of the best feelings is seeing toilet paper in every tree after an athletic team has a big win. “Rolling the Quad” has become such a unique tradition, and it’s my favorite display of school spirit.

Q: What shared values do you feel unite the Wake Forest community?

A: The Wake Forest population is united by “pro humanitate,” the University’s motto. Nearly every student is involved in some kind of regular volunteer work. I know so many students and faculty members who have taken advantage of their summer, winter and spring breaks to participate in collaborative service trips within the United States and abroad, and I’m proud to attend an institution whose members are so true to the values it promotes.

Q: Your best advice for an incoming first-year student?

A: Keep an open mind and use your four years to figure out what you’re passionate about! My success and happiness are largely due to the fact that I have chosen to take part in activities that both drive me to challenge myself and give me personal satisfaction.

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