Q&A with neuroscience student Peter Yunker

Originally from Wenatchee, Peter Yunker is a junior in Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience pursuing a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience with a pre-medicine track. Peter has spent recent summers in Alaska working as a commercial fisherman, but when he graduates in the winter of 2023, he hopes to head to medical school.

What are some of your favorite hobbies?

I love being outside – hiking, backpacking, kayaking, mountaineering, backcountry skiing and rock climbing. These hobbies have helped me in many ways, from staying fit to also creating an environment where one can truly escape the modern-day issues of being an undergraduate student with a demanding course load. I think mountaineer Fred Beckey said it best, “Enter the wilderness or backcountry and watch all the issues and hardships of the modern world fall away.”

What’s your favorite place at WSU?

Probably my favorite place on campus is the lab where I work in the Veterinary and Biomedical Research Building. Not only is it, in my mind, the nicest building on campus but also the people in the neuroscience and behavioral science department are super cool!

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

Probably my favorite course I have taken at WSU is Chemistry 345 with Clifford Berkman. He is an awesome professor and deserves some acknowledgment for being so passionate about organic chemistry and being able to teach the material in a way that comes across clearly yet also intuitive. Also, he has great stories!

Do you have a job or work in a lab?

I currently work in the McLaughlin behavioral research lab, and for the past five years in the summers, I have been a commercial fisherman in the Alaskan Bering Sea as a way to financially support myself through school.

What’s a unique, fun fact about you?

One of the coolest things I have been given the opportunity to do is complete the Frances route of the Camino de Santiago, which is a 500-mile trek across Spain. It was an awesome opportunity to see and be truly emersed in Spanish culture and learn the history of the region.

What are your career goals? 

My career goals are to ultimately become an emergency surgeon, and once I am older, go into a specific field for surgery, like orthopedics or cardiothoracic.

What’s one of your favorite things?

One of my favorite things is the feeling after you have overcome something challenging or difficult because it makes you feel that much more confident about the obstacles the future might behold.