On July 15, Dickinson announced that the fall 2020 semester will be remote. Campus is closed to visitors who do not have an approved appointment. Face coverings must be worn at all times.
Peter Howard ’15 is a member of the track and field team (shot put, discus and javelin), a scholarship and fellowship recipient, and an accomplished pianist/vocalist with plans to become a surgeon. He discusses the courses, professor and experiences that placed him on track to Duke University School of Medicine; the book that fueled his interest in medical research; his internships in high-tech chemical formulation and cancer research; what his perfect world would sound like; and the life lessons that taught him that with hard work and integrity, you really can “have it all.”
Clubs and organizations:
Cancer: The Emperor of all Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee.
V for Vendetta.
John Dickinson Scholarship, Patton Memorial Scholarship, Dean’s List, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute’s summer retreat (second-prize winner for science-poster exhibition, 2014), two-time Klionski Fellowship awardee (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center), Centennial Conference All-Academic team, student representative to chemistry faculty.
As a kid, I wanted to be …
… a doctor (since age 3, and it hasn’t changed).
On choosing a major:
I have always been interested in chemistry, and at first, it was my only major. As I took more biology classes, I became enamored with biochemistry as well.
On choosing Dickinson:
My father [Lindsay Howard ’82] introduced me to the school. I was looking for a small school with a well-defined campus, and Dickinson fit the bill perfectly. After getting to meet the science faculty here, and after seeing Rector, it was a no-brainer for me.
Favorite place on campus:
Rector Science Complex.
Favorite Dining Hall food:
[Assistant] Professor [of Chemistry] Sarah St. Angelo. She is great, because she has the excitement for science that is common in academia and the realist practicality of a lab chemist, due to her previous career. This, combined with her upbeat attitude, love for teaching and ability to challenge students without overwhelming them, is truly impressive.
I have been playing piano since I was 4, and I love performing. I have performed at several Noonday Concerts while here.
If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …
… Sergei Rachmaninoff (with a translator, of course).
In a perfect world ...
… everyone’s life would have its own soundtrack.
About my internships:
At the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) Shadyside Hospital: Because of my interest in oncology, my internships at UPMC were very appealing. I got the opportunity to complete real research in the cutting-edge field of cancer research, collecting and analyzing genomic data from tumor cells to determine causative mutations and possible targets for treatment, while also learning a great deal about the underlying science behind both what we were doing and what we were treating.
At August Research Systems: I worked in an aircraft-coatings formulation lab [August Research Systems] during summer 2012, formulating organic compounds that were used to coat U.S. government planes to protect them from weathering and from radar detection. I learned how research in such a field really works, and I was able to take part in the trial and error process, as well as take part in coordinating the use of nearly $500,000 dollars, allocated for use in purchasing lab equipment.
I’ll be attending medical school at Duke University, and I plan to eventually become a surgeon. My current interests are in orthopedics, sports medicine and oncology.
My parents. I learned the value of steadfast commitment to being the best that I can be, the value of kindness and compassion in the pursuit of my goals, and the importance of self-assured humility when those goals are accomplished. I know for a fact that I would not be where I am today without their love and support.
Published May 11, 2015