It’s senior week, and we are highlighting some of the members of the Class of 2022 as part of our #HumansOfLongwood series. Wherever life after Longwood takes them—a new job, graduate studies or an internship—these students reflect the goals and achievements made possible in a close-knit community that promotes student involvement, values inclusion and nurtures citizen leadership in whatever form it takes.

Cecily Hayek ’22
HOMETOWN: Burke, Virginia

MAJOR: Biology
WHAT'S NEXT: pursuing a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree at Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine

One of the things I love best about Longwood is the community that we have built here. It includes friendly faces, invested professors and the best student body a college student could ask for. Looking back at the last four years, I’ve loved being involved and helping others find what they love on this campus. We go to such a special school for a short time, and I wanted to make the most of it by branching out and getting involved. I am president of Women in STEM, president of Tri Beta Biology Honors Society, and a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Longwood Ambassadors and Alpha Delta Pi, a pre-professional health society.

The most amazing experience I had as a student was most likely after I gave my very first tour as an Ambassador. I was so nervous and worried that I would forget to mention something important. After the tour ended, one student’s mother gave me a hug. She jokingly said that she was not afraid to let her child go to college anymore because Longwood seemed like home. That’s exactly how I felt after touring Longwood as a high-school student, and it’s what I was hoping visitors would experience from my tour. So that feeling of accomplishment from my very first tour has been unmatched. Sharing my love for this school has got to be my favorite activity.

This fall I will be a first-year student attending the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine in Blacksburg to pursue my Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Dr. Wade Znosko, my research professor, helped me become more confident as a biologist and always supported my dream of going to veterinary school. I have presented my research at the National Council of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) for two years virtually. My research deals with the effects of impaired water on Zebrafish development, and my senior thesis looked specifically at muscle development of the Zebrafish. It has been amazing to be able to complete undergraduate research in a subject that I find so interesting.

Longwood has taught me to support others and has helped me build confidence in myself. My professors instilled in me from the very beginning the importance of collaboration. Stepping on others to get ahead hurts everyone in the long run. I have learned to respect others and the importance of giving everyone a chance, even if we have different interests and opinions. It’s what makes this school so special.

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