Chani hang-gliding in Brazil.

Chani’s Bio

  • Major: Biomedical Sciences and Psychology
  • Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Finding colleges far away from her Milwaukee home was the easy part for Chani Becker.

Chani and instructor hang gliding over a beach in Rio de Janeiro.

Hang gliding over Rio de Janeiro.

Finding one that also offered an undergraduate degree in biomedical sciences was not quite as simple. But then Chani discovered the University at Buffalo.

One of the few universities in the country to offer a pre-med major at the undergraduate level and a good 600 miles from Wisconsin, UB seemed like a perfect fit for Chani. Still, she wasn’t sure that such a large university was the right place for her. But an invitation to join UB’s University Honors College and the opportunity to be part of a small community within a large university helped ease her mind.

Chani and friends cheering on the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

Chani and friends cheering on the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium.

“The fact that it was such a big campus was kind of intimidating,” Chani said. “But I had this really positive experience with the admissions people I spoke with and the Honors College. I really started to develop the feeling that it was a smaller community. And I think that was really a factor in me wanting to come here.”

“I was dead-set on not going to school in Milwaukee. I felt I had more to experience. I felt like I wanted to see more, and I wanted to have a college experience that was unique and more individualized to me.”

The Honors College also helped open doors for Chani. She was engaged in service learning at the March of Dimes as part of her Honors Colloquium, staying on the job a whole semester longer than required, and later volunteered at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute of Buffalo. She went even further afield, studying abroad for a semester in Brazil, where she got a first-hand look at that nation’s health-care system. “I don’t know how often we were in the classroom. A lot of work was done within the hospitals, within the doctors’ offices. The program did an excellent job of exposing us to the Brazilian health-care system at multiple levels."

Chani holding a snowboard.

Taking a break from classes to go snowboarding.

Although she was accepted into medical school, Chani continues to forge her own path. She will soon begin a research fellowship with the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Chemical Defense and plans to pursue a PhD in behavioral neuroscience.

Last updated: November 10, 2014 4:58 pm EST