Student Spotlight: Dennis Shteyn C’21

Dennis Shteyn C’21                              

What attracted you to Drew?

I wanted to go to a university where I could have small classes to have a more intimate experience with professors and classmates. I didn’t want to be a number but preferred a more personalized experience for my education.

Why did you choose neuroscience and Public Health as majors?

I always knew I wanted to be a neuroscience major, as I am very fascinated by the brain and wanted to explore the subject more deeply. I also liked that surgery and dissections were a part of the curriculum and I was excited by the research lab opportunities available at Drew, where I would be able to take on an independent project on any question I wanted to explore. I wanted a hand-on approach, as I learn best by “doing”, and I knew I would get that with the Neuroscience program here. My public health major came about later on in my college career, as I began to become more fascinated with the social applications of health.

Did you have an idea of a dream job when you started at Drew?

When I started at Drew, I saw myself being a physician. However, through learning about different disciplines within science, I quickly learned that there was a wide array of science fields that I would be able to explore.

Have you done any internships?

Since February 2021, I have been interning with Harlem United, a non-profit organization located in NYC. Harlem United provides both social and health services to underserved populations in New York City. I have been working with the Population Health and Evaluation team of the HIV housing program, where we provide stable housing for those living with HIV. I have been in charge of data management, as well as the team’s statistical analyst for all client data that enters our program.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?

Since freshman year my mentor has been Dr. Christina McKittrick, who is both my advisor and the head of the lab which I have worked in since my first semester here. Dr. McKittrick has been with me every step of the way, both in the neuroscience lab, and the classroom. She has helped me grow into the person I am today during my time at Drew, and has helped open doors for me for my future.

What are a few of your favorite memories of Drew? 

Walking through the Zuck Arboretum for the first time is a very significant memory for me, as I was able to explore and have access to a beautiful conservation right on campus. Participating in the Drew Summer Science Institute the summer of my sophomore year is another fun memory that comes to mind, because I was able to dive into hands-on research at a time where campus is at its most beautiful.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

Do not worry if you don’t know exactly what you want to do yet, and do not be afraid to explore different routes that you may never have pictured yourself going. Also, keep an active planner or calendar. Trust me.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

In five years, I hope to be working with a community health organization providing healthcare services for underserved populations and those that have faced social and structural barriers for accessing necessary healthcare. I hope that as my career progresses, I would able to work with healthcare policy and legislation.

Are there any fun facts you would like to share?

When I am not studying for academics, I spend my time studying astrology!

I am fluent in Russian, which is actually my first language!

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