On Viruses and Adrenaline

Nancy Gomez

Nancy Gomez ’18

Nancy Gomez ’18 (biochemistry & molecular biology, ROTC) has caught the travel bug and the adrenaline bug, and she’s feeding both by skydiving and scuba diving during her junior year abroad in Australia. She also has researched an altogether different kind of bug—influenza—as a student-intern at a medical college. She discusses her internship, her favorite class and professor, why she chose Dickinson and her determination to visit every continent.


Biochemistry & molecular biology.

Clubs and organizations:  

Kappa Alpha Theta, ROTC and Senior Companions.


ROTC scholarship, Samuel G. Rose ’58 Scholarship, Ensemble Music Scholarship and Alfred Swan Applied Music Scholarship.

On choosing a major:

I was always interested in science, especially biology, and since I was leaning toward being a doctor, majoring in biochemistry & molecular biology seemed like the way to go.

On choosing Dickinson:

I wanted a school that was far away from home so I could learn to be more independent, but close enough that I could go home whenever I wanted. When I first came to Dickinson, I was immediately impressed with the campus. Even though it was raining that day, it still looked good. I was also impressed with the biochemistry & molecular biology program, and I just had a good feeling about attending Dickinson. I enjoyed sitting in [Associate] Professor [of Biology Charles] Zwemer’s and [Assistant] Professor [of Biology Tiffany] Frey’s classes. Dickinson offered everything that I was looking for.

Study-abroad student Nancy Gomez '18, on Hosier Lane, Melbourne, Australia.

Study-abroad student Nancy Gomez '18, on Hosier Lane, Melbourne, Australia.

On studying abroad:

I am currently studying abroad at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia. The world has so much to offer, and it would be a shame and injustice for me not to travel and explore it. The people are friendly and inviting, and this experience just reconfirms my belief that Australia overall is amazing.

Favorite professor:

[Contributing Faculty in Music] Jeffrey Wohlbach is one of the best professors that I have met at Dickinson. I have always enjoyed his classes, and he not only cares about you being able to learn the material, but he also cares about you growing as a person.         

Post-Dickinson plans:

I plan to continue traveling the world and complete my bucket list by traveling to every continent (including Antarctica). I also plan to serve my country in the U.S. Army for a while and go to medical school after that.

Favorite book:

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card.

Favorite movie:


Favorite place on campus:

The area on the first floor of the library, overlooking D-walk, that has the leather chairs. I call it “the fishbowl.”

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Pulled beef or Tater Tot casserole from the KOVE.

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… someone who helps people. When they told me I had to be more specific, I decided that I wanted to be a doctor.


I play the trumpet.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… Benedict Cumberbatch (And Martin Freeman, if possible. They’re better as a pair.)

Biggest influences:

I would have to say my parents. My dad has taught me to have a good work ethic, care about those you love and be willing to do the things that no one else would. My mom’s emotional strength, wisdom and many life lessons have helped me many a time and have definitely shaped the way I see the world, even the times when she thought I wasn’t listening.

About my internship and research:

Prior to attending Dickinson, I had an internship with the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine. I studied Influenza and worked on a study for a multivalent vaccine, a more efficient vaccine against many types of influenza. I wanted experience in the lab, and influenza is a really cool disease to study (I would study it again if given the chance). I definitely learned how important it is to keep a record of everything. I also learned that teamwork is crucial for a smooth day, and that researchers really love coffee.  

On my Australian adventures:

I am quite interested in many adrenaline-fueled activities. Despite my fear of heights, I went skydiving in Byron Bay, Australia. You don’t feel the free fall at all (or the fact that you could be plummeting to your death). When the parachute comes out, the landscape below looks like a painting. I would definitely do it again. I have also gone scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef. It’s much better than snorkeling, and you need to be there to fully experience the rush of being able to breathe underwater at one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Personal philosophy:

“Hoy por ti … manana por mi,” or “Today, you… tomorrow, me.” It’s a way for people to do nice things for other people, especially when others have shown kindness to them at some point in their lives.

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Published April 14, 2017