Wartburg helped me succeed in the classroom, on the field

NAME: William Hasken  
CLASS YEAR: 2020
HOMETOWN: Miles, Iowa 
MAJOR: Biochemistry

ON-CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT: Football (4 years), Student Ambassador (3 years), Organic Chemistry SI (2 years), Chemistry tutoring lab worker (2 years), Tri-Beta President (1 year), Alpha Chi (2 years), Phi-Eta-Sigma (2 years), Anatomy and Physiology Cadaver Dissector (1 year), Waverly Health Center Volunteer (1 year), Research (1 summer)

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I chose Wartburg because of its reputation as a school that strongly valued the outcomes and happiness of its students. It was immediately evident after I stepped foot on campus that each and every person I talked to was happy with their decision to attend Wartburg. As a student-athlete, I was also drawn in by the historic athletic success that is shared by every team. Talking with the coaches also made it clear that my success as a football player would be paralleled by my success as a student, an opportunity I did not feel was matched at other programs.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR: I chose to major in biochemistry because of the professors who interacted with me throughout my first year at Wartburg. I had known previously that Wartburg’s biology and biochemistry curriculum were among the best for those looking to go into a pre-health track, and after deciding that I wanted to attend medical school, it seemed like the right thing to do. Since then I have been thrilled with the quality and scope of the education I have received and believe I will be suited to take on my next educational challenge.

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: After graduation I plan to attend medical school.  

William Hasken

HOW HAS YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR THE NEXT STEP: Wartburg has done an unprecedented job of preparing me for graduate school while also allowing me to explore passions outside of the classroom. I have made countless relationships, both professional and non-professional, which will likely continue throughout the rest of my life. I knew that coming to Wartburg would allow me to succeed in academics if I studied hard, however, I did not know that my experience would contain so many more additional experiences that taught me lessons about myself, life, and building positive relationships with others as well.

WHAT RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES HAVE YOU HAD: During my time at Wartburg I have been fortunate to participate in both on-campus and off-campus research opportunities. During the summer of 2018 I was able to work at Wartburg on a project that dealt with ovarian cancer and the exciting gene editing technology that is CRISPR-Cas9. During the next summer I was able to travel to the University of Pennsylvania were I worked to refine an assay that detected circulating tumor cells in patients with lung cancer.  

HOW HAVE THESE EXPPERIENCES PREPARED YOU FOR THE FUTURE: Applying to medical school is an ultra-competitive process that often requires applicants to have a well-rounded list of extracurricular activities that contribute to your skills as a person and as a scientist. Having the opportunity to engage in exciting and novel research allowed me to gain a greater appreciation and understanding for scientific work, grow in my abilities in a lab setting, and also to meet mentors who have guided me throughout my undergraduate years both in school and in life. Committing time to research is definitely something that I am glad I did, as I believe it will be something I continue to participate in as a health care professional.  

HOW DO YOU BALANCE BEING A STUDENT AND AN ATHLETE: Adapting to the increased academic load along with playing a sport was definitely a challenge for myself. I learned quickly that in order to be successful, being an excellent time manager was non-negotiable. Whether it was staying up a little bit later in order to study or waking up early for weightlifting sessions, people who do both will experience challenges. I was fortunate to find friends with lofty academic goals who also played football. These are the people that I could surround myself with, both while studying and while weightlifting or practicing. Additionally, professors here understand some of the hardships that student-athletes face, and worked incredibly hard to ensure I had the opportunities to be successful.  

HOW HAW PARTICIPATING ON AN ATHLETIC TEAM ENHANCED YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: Deciding to play football at Wartburg has opened up numerous doors for me. First of all, it immediately allowed me to develop a family of people with similar goals and interests as myself. I met many of my best friends through football. Second, it allowed me to ask advice from older players who were pursuing similar career goals as myself. I learned a lot from guys who played football with me and are now in medical school themselves. I committed a wealth of time to practices, games, weight sessions, and meetings on behalf of the football team, but took away so much in the form of great memories, lasting success, and great advice from others.  

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: After finishing my first season of football with a record of 6-4, we felt that we had something to prove. The following off-season and subsequent three seasons allowed us to do exactly that. Each time that I was able to lift a conference championship trophy surrounded by friends and teammates are moments that I will not be able to forget. After winning the conference for the third year in a row my senior year, we became the second Wartburg football team to achieve a three-peat of the conference. Achieving a goal with my best friends is definitely my most memorable Wartburg experience.  

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: I thought research opportunities at institutions like The University of Pennsylvania, MIT, The Ragon Institute, and other prestigious universities were reserved only for those coming from larger schools. Additionally, I definitely thought that being a student-athlete would have made pursuing opportunities like that more difficult. I never imagined myself being able to do both of these things at the same time, however, I was more than encouraged by both coaches and mentors to do exactly that here.

WHY HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN WORTH IT: I have touched on it slightly throughout these last couple questions but I think the people I have been able to build relationships with accompanied with the experiences and memories I share with them have made my experience unique – something I would have had trouble finding elsewhere. Many institutions offer rigorous academic programs where students have the chance to grow, but not many places have mentors, faculty, coaches, and various other staff who continually go out of their way to ensure the best possible experience for each member of the student body.