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School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt

Alumni Spotlight

This page is dedicated to highlighting the accomplishments of our SSMV graduates. The SSMV classes of 2011 through 2014 have finished undergraduate degrees and have gone on to graduate school and are entering the workforce. These spotlights give some examples of what our alumni are doing now.


Zach Taylor, SSMV Class of 2017

Hume-Fogg Magnet High School

Yale University

What are your goals for your undergraduate years?

My goals in my undergraduate career extend beyond academics. Of course I want to do well academically and learn a lot in the classroom. And I think there is so much more to be learned outside the classroom environment. To this end, I love to travel. I am fortunate enough to be a part of a touring a cappella group (the Yale Alley Cats), and have gotten the opportunity to travel all over the world as a part of it. A goal of mine as an undergraduate is to see as much of the world as I can!

How has the SSMV impacted your goals?

SSMV largely shaped my academic goals for my time at Yale. I am currently majoring in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. I discovered my love for coding doing my sophomore project, during which my team build a portable and inexpensive biometric device. When I was in my lab junior and senior year, I found that I really enjoyed electrical engineering— so much so that I am pursuing it as a career. I would not know what I want to do had it not been for the SSMV.

What is your favorite memory from the SSMV?

My favorite memory from SSMV also comes from the sophomore project. While testing our biometric device, we had to dunk tests in a lab. It was so much fun because our device was showing us real and tangible results— and we got to have a water day in the lab. 

How are you staying engaged with the SSMV?

I want to stay connected in with SSMV by returning  and talking about my experience and sharing knowledge about the college application process, or generally advocating for the SSMV and its wonderful benefits!



Scherly Gomez, SSMV Class of 2013

East Nashville Magnet High School

Lipscomb University

Please describe what you have done since high school and SSMV graduation.

Since graduating SSMV/high school in 2013, I attended and graduated from Lipscomb University with a Bachelor's of Science in biology with a minor in chemistry in the fall of 2016. 

What are your goals in graduate school and your career?

I am currently attending Meharry Medical College to pursue a career in medicine. I am still unsure of what I would like to specialize, but Cardiology and Emergency Medicine are currently my top two. 

What impact did the SSMV have on shaping your undergraduate experience?

The things that I learned in SSMV were of tremendous help during my undergraduate experience. Not only in my science classes and labs, but also in English and literature classes. Many of the lab techniques we learned and the papers we wrote during our time there expanded my vocabulary and knowledge of the scientific community. I felt like I had a tremendous advantage throughout my biology classes since I was familiar with many of the concepts. It really made my transition from high school to college much smoother.

What is your favorite memory from your time at the SSMV?

One of my favorite SSMV memories was my junior research internship in the Hillyer Lab where I worked with mosquitoes, studying the physiological effects on the heart with certain bacteria infections. That summer was challenging, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

How are you staying engaged and involved with the SSMV?

Above all, I love the family aspect of SSMV. My class was very close, and I still keep up with many of my classmates, some of which have started their careers or have started professional/graduate school. 

I try to be informed of all that is going on with SSMV via Facebook and the Newsletter. I also encourage high school students to apply to the program.

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