Biology major Aakash Shah came to Castleton in search of a personalized higher education experience, but what he took away from his time at the university was something much greater.
Originally from India, Shah moved to Vermont with his family at a young age. With education as a top priority, he chose to attend Castleton, focusing his interests in the fields of medicine and science.
“The Castleton Natural Sciences Department is probably the best thing that happened to me in my college life,” said Shah. “It helped me integrate what I actually wanted to do into my education.”
The University’s small class size and close-knit community allowed for an easy transition to life on campus.
Shah explained that the location of the Natural Sciences Department allowed him to remain immersed in his desired field, while feeling a sense of familiarity within the building.
The ability to work closely with his professors on a one-on-one basis made for a maximized educational experience and their constant willingness to provide additional support only increased the academic richness of the University.
“There are endless opportunities for hands on research and learning at Castleton,” he said.
With innovative technology readily available to all students, Shah was able to participate in independent research projects. He partnered with his fellow students and professors, as well as other colleges and universities, to conduct plant genetics and enzyme-based research.
In addition to his rigorous academic class schedule, Shah also found time to explore other interests by getting involved in campus clubs and events. He joined several intermural sports during his early college years, before focusing in on his academics and joining the Science Association Club.
“There are so many activities to do on campus,” he said, “There’s something for everyone.”
Following his graduation in 2014, Shah was accepted into the New York Institute of Technology’s Master of Science Physician Assistant program.
“You don't realize the quality of education you've received until you've graduated and met students from other programs,” he said. “ Many of my classmates are Ivy League graduates and from competitive undergrad programs. I’m proud to say that Castleton has prepared me so well that I’m performing as well, if not better, than most of my class.”
As he continues to broaden his educational scope, Shah said he is proud of all that he gained through his Castleton experiences. Through academic, professional, and social opportunities as an undergraduate student he was provided with all the tools necessary to succeed in his future endeavors.