Combining Language and
for a Life of Service
Andrea Herrera ‘10C dreams of earning her medical degree and
eventually opening a clinic in an underprivileged country. She took
her critical first steps on this journey at St. John’s University,
where she received the inspiration to serve and the tools necessary
After researching programs at different colleges, Andrea opted to
Biology at St. John’s, noting that it offered her a wealth of
career opportunities. “I always wanted to study medicine and
courses such as Histology with Dr. Pepitone and Physiology with Dr.
Zimmerman reinforced my interest in the study of the human body and
the medical field.”
A native of Spain, Andrea inherited a love for the
French language and culture from her father, who lived in
France for six years as a child. “I decided to give (French) a try
for my language credit, and I fell in love with the language,” she
said, adding that it is similar to her native Spanish and the
cultures bear several similarities as well. She enjoyed it so much
she opted to take a double major in Biology and French.
Andrea immediately found her niche at St. John’s. Not only did she
bond with her fellow Biology majors but she also joined the
Francophone Circle, eventually becoming an executive board
member in her junior and senior year.
To fulfill her requirements in French, Andrea had to take an
internship in a French-speaking country. Her faculty mentor,
Zoe Petropoulou, Ph.D., helped her obtain one at a biology lab
affiliated with the Hospitaux Drome-Nord in Romans-Sur-Isere.
“Working there really reinforced my biology skills as well as my
French,” she noted. “I was living by myself in a small studio and
had no choice but to learn French well in order to communicate
effectively. I learned conversational French as well as medical
terms in French.”
The dedicated faculty at St. John’s is always on hand to offer
guidance and support to our students, Andrea said. She credited Dr.
Petropoulou with being a great source of wisdom and encouragement.
“She encouraged me to do the double major and I am grateful she
did. She’s always been there when I needed any advice,” said
Andrea is proud of her time at St. John’s and stressed that both
her Biology and French professors motivated her far beyond just
obtaining her degree. As a member of the Francophone Circle, Andrea
helped members of the Haitian Society pack items for the relief
effort following the devastating earthquake in January of this
year. “My advice is to not to be afraid of taking risks and pursue
what you’re really passionate about,” she said. Do as much
volunteer work and internships as your schedule allows.”
Attending St. John’s made a great difference in Andrea’s life,
helping focus her career goals and expanding her horizons into
areas she had not considered before, and her future looks bright.
“I’m putting the knowledge I gained at St. John’s and the desire to
serve to good use.”