Spotlight on Natural Sciences Alumni: Anjali Chandra

Name: Anjali Chandra
Age: 24
Occupation: Teacher and College Adviser
Education (UR and additional): B.S. in Biochemistry and B.A. in Health and Society, University of Rochester, 2009; M.S. in Special Education, CUNY Hunter, 2011; This fall I will be joining the MD class of 2016 at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
Current city/state of residence: New York, NY
Community activities: Volunteer in children’s center


Who were your mentors while you were on campus? Have you continued those relationships?

My freshman biology professor was always very open and supportive to our class. He was always willing to help with getting us to understand the material or just reassure us while we were getting used to college. As I became older, he continued to check up on me and was always willing to listen and give advice. Three years later, I still keep in contact with him, and I know I owe a lot of my success to his support over the years.

What did you do immediately after graduation? How did you decide to take that path?

During my senior year at Rochester, I realized I wanted the opportunity to actually see the ideas and theories in practice. I felt like my Rochester education charged me with the knowledge and had sparked my interest in working in urban areas, and I wanted to explore this area full time before continuing my education. I decided to apply to Teach for America (TFA), along with other Americorp programs and decided to join TFA. My experience as a Rochester student really prepared me for this experience. The workshop program put me ahead of my fellow corp members in working with students in an effective way.

What do you do now, and why did you choose this career?

I am currently finishing my third year at my TFA placement school. Last year, I co-created a college cafe program so that my students would have the opportunity and support to continue education after high school. Staying a third year allows me to ensure that the program continues at my school. Looking forward, I am attending medical school this fall so that I may study medicine and return to the same community to treat and provide positive support to children in underserved areas.

What skills, tools, or knowledge from your major have been most useful to you since graduation?

Both the content knowledge and perspective I gained at Rochester have been useful. Most of all my experiences in extracurricular activities have allowed me to transition to the community with ease. I think the manner in which students are encouraged to explore and ask questions has allowed me to be a truly effective teacher and advocate for my students. Going forward I know Rochester also prepared me as a student for medical school.

How are you still connected with the University?

I still maintain contact with my friends, students, and professors at the university that I worked with through organizations and courses. I often attend the alumni events held in my city, and I also maintain close contact with my mentors that I met while studying at the UR.

What advice do you have for current students?

Never say never. Study what you want. This is the time to explore and embrace being a student.