Q&A with biochemistry student Mackenzie Waller

Meet Mackenzie Waller, a recent graduate from the College of Veterinary Medicine with aspirations of a career in medicine. From Eatonville, Washington, the outdoor enthusiast graduated from WSU after majoring in biochemistry and minoring in biology and chemistry.

Find out how WSU has shaped her journey and what she plans for her future in this Q&A.

How has WSU prepared you for your future?

WSU provided me with the opportunity to grow both personally and academically. When I entered my freshman year, my intended major was business. However, I had an underlying passion for science and a desire to pursue a career in health care. After my first semester as a business major, I consulted with an academic advisor at the Carson College of Business. I expressed my interest in chemistry and biology, but also my apprehensions about the demanding coursework of a science degree. The advisor’s encouragement gave me confidence, and the following semester I enrolled in my first college chemistry course. Chemistry 103, with Dr. Buckley and my TA, Brett, provided me with a deeply rewarding experience where I truly enjoyed the content I was learning. I finished my freshman year with a cumulative 4.0 GPA, and I gained clarity about my true passion and future direction.

What’s your favorite place at WSU?

My go-to spot at WSU has to be the Terrell Library, where you’d likely find me most of the time. However, when I’m not studying, I really enjoy working out at the Chinook.

What’s your favorite course you’ve taken at WSU?

I have really enjoyed Biology 315 (Gross and Microanatomy) with Dr. Johnson. Learning about the human body is fascinating and has really solidified my aspiration to pursue medicine.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? 

After graduation, I plan on taking a gap year to gain further experience in the medical field, extend my volunteer work, shadow physicians, secure letters of recommendation, and prepare for the MCAT. My goal is to begin medical school in the fall of 2025.

Do you have a job?

I work part-time as a barista in Pullman, and I also am a weekly volunteer with Family Promise of the Palouse in Moscow, Idaho. Finding community in the greater Palouse region has truly been one of the most meaningful aspects of my time in college.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I am happiest when I spend time outdoors. I love to run, hike, ski, and spend time with my golden retriever, Sadie. During my last year at WSU, I joined the alpine ski team, which was an incredible experience! I had the opportunity to make new friends, travel to new mountains, and improve upon my skiing!