Juggling a schedule that includes cross country and advanced coursework at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, Rachel is focusing on a future career in the veterinary field.
I’m actually from West Bend, Pennsylvania. Most of the people where I'm from have never heard of UMass. All the opportunities I've had here are nothing I could have ever gotten at home. I study trypanosomiasis, trying to characterize how it affects the immune system, so that eventually they can develop a vaccine. Students design their own research. And in conjunction with a mentor, they'll actually perform their own projects. And some are just for a year. Mine's going to be three and half years long- by the time I'm done. And especially if you want to go on to grad school, like that's exactly what they look for. University of Massachusetts and Tufts have a joint program. So I applied to Tufts my sophomore year. And then I was accepted. They built two new science buildings, which is nice, because we get all of the state-of-the-art equipment. Running is definitely my way to kind of release from the world. De-stress. This year we have a great bunch of new girls that came in. We all run together in the afternoons. I love being able to go out and explore all this beautiful country around UMass. I love the attitudes of everyone around here. There's such a variety of people. And so it's just a great place to learn and to kind of broaden my horizons. I'm Rachel Hilliard, Class of 2015. I stand for making a difference. And I stand for UMass.