Dan SelechnikDaniel Selechnik, Class of 2015

Hometown: Washington Township, N.J.

Major: Biology
Graduation Plans: MD or PhD 

“I’m always happy to come to the aid of others, but there are so many different ways of doing so. While I am interested in a career in the medical field, I’m also passionate about the biological sciences I’ve been learning about. Unsure of exactly what I want to do, I can see myself feeling fulfilled pursuing various career paths.”

Current Work and Research Project:

Selechnik volunteered as a research assistant at Hackensack University Medical Center last summer where he was involved in their study on tobacco cessation. To do this, he received Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) certification by completing an online course. His role was to collect data by surveying patients and visitors in the Emergency Department, remaining mindful of informed consent, and inputting the information into an online computer system. The data is being used to assess the physical and psychological constraints on quitting for tobacco users. He is returning to HUMC again this summer to assist in other research projects that the hospital is undertaking.

Additionally, Selechnik will begin research on protein misfolding under Dr. Dale Cameron in the Biology department next semester.

Plans to promote the common good:

Selechnik has several friends who immigrated to the United States to study and empathized with their struggles to overcome the language barriers presented by their courses. In past science classes, he has made sure to assist them in studying so that the concepts made sense to them in English.

Last summer, while shadowing in the ER at Hackensack University Medical Center, Selechnik encountered many patients who were only able to communicate in Spanish, and realized the importance of acquiring fluency in the language. Although he is currently only fluent in English, Selechnik has been studying Spanish since middle school and hopes to become fluent in the future. He plans on completing a minor in Spanish this year so he can use the skills he gains from the courses to allow him to reach out to Spanish-speaking immigrants in his future career path. Selechnik not only wishes to be able to communicate effectively with patients whose English is limited, but also to help them understand their rights to healthcare and education.”

Most interesting leadership experience so far:

Throughout the past year, Selechnik worked as a Supplemental Instructor for the introductory biology courses, consisting of Ecology & Evolution and Cell Biology. He once again attended the lectures in which he was a student the previous year, but this time was responsible for holding two hour-long sessions per week in which he helped students understand and keep up with the material. The sessions went really well, and although attendance by the students was optional and no additional incentives were offered, on multiple occasions classrooms were not large enough to hold all attendees and they were moved to a lecture hall just so everybody could fit. Students told him that his sessions were really helpful and their grades shot up after attending regularly. Selechnik believes that he has matured and learned a lot from the experience and made a lot of great friends in the students he helped.