Aaron Weaver, who recently graduated from UW-Stevens Point, has some good advice for those considering which college to attend: “Go where you think you’ll be happiest, where you’ll be successful.”
“I was definitely happy here,” Weaver said. The biochemistry major plans to be a physician.
Everyone defines success differently. For Weaver, success meant learning in and outside the classroom, as a tutor in math and sciences on campus and through his part-time jobs and volunteering in Wausau.
Success for him also means graduating with no student loan debt. Weaver lived at home in Wausau throughout his college career. He attended UW-Marathon County his first two years, and transferred to UW-Stevens Point for the final two.
“I like Point a lot. It’s not too big. In my upper level classes, I was one of about 15 students, and the interaction with professors was meaningful. I don’t feel like I’m just a number.”
Biochemistry links biological sciences, such as molecular biology and genetics, to physical sciences, such as chemistry andphysics. This knowledge explains life processes in terms of molecular structure and chemical reactions within living cells – solid preparation for medical school or other graduate studies.
“Before I took biochemistry, biology and chemistry were separate worlds. Everything clicked,” said Weaver, crediting assistant professor Amanda Jonsson who “made it fun and interesting.”
“Aaron is an extremely dedicated and hard-working student. In biochemistry last year, he was a stand-out student and has been doing an amazing job as a group tutor for that class this semester,” Jonsson said.
As he tutored students in physics, biochemistry and several biology courses, Weaver also learned. “I learned how to articulate myself, express concepts in a way people can understand, to distill information and identify when people are having problems.”
Tutoring at the multicultural resource center helped him learn to communicate effectively with people from other backgrounds.
Weaver will join AmeriCorps this summer, then apply to medical schools in the Midwest. He’ll join other UW-Stevens Point graduates pursuing advanced degrees in science, technology, math and engineering – the most from any UW except UW-Madison.
He also encourages people to job shadow. “Make sure you take time to get exposure to doing what you think you want to do. You’ll do this for the next 30 to 40 years, so do something you enjoy.”
Weaver thought he wanted to be a pharmacist. But after working as a pharmacy technician, he realized it was not his dream job. Interested in health care professions, he shadowed a podiatrist, dentist and his family physician. “Out of all three, by far my favorite was the family physician,” he said.
He’s worked as a certified nursing assistant at North Central Health Care and at Aspirus Wausau Hospital, giving him experience with dementia, ventilator and post-anesthesia care. He enjoys working with patients. He’s also learned important fundamentals, he said, such as infection control and bedside manner.
Weaver shows compassion and “a desire to become a physician for all the right reasons,” said Michelle Shulfer, senior lecturer, who teaches environmental responsibility. “He understands the importance of developing relationships with people, to make a personal connection, to build trust and ultimately be of service. Aaron has a bright future, one that will no doubt be fulfilling for him.”