Three December grads to know

Here are three University of Illinois students who are graduating this month:

Name: Anne Machesky

Age: 22

Major: Molecular and cellular biology (honors program), minors in chemistry and sociology

What's next: Internship at the Center for Women in Transition, graduate school in social work, then medical school.

In 10 years I hope to be: A rural doctor working for gender equality and women's rights in developing countries.

Experience: Studied abroad in Kenya and Morocco, focusing on women's health; trained as a rape crisis counselor and student health educator; president of campus Special Populations Student Health Committee; volunteer at East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center. published researcher.

Fun fact: Born in Champaign, attended University High School.

Quote: In Kenya "I was an intern at a rural health care clinic in the middle of nowhere. I lived in a hut without running water and electricity and had the best time of my life."

Name: Stefan Djordjevic

Age: 22

Majors: Molecular and cellular biology (honors), chemistry

What's next: Fellowship at NASA, medical school.

In 10 years I hope to be: A flight surgeon working at Mission Control or on a space mission

Experience: Became licensed pilot through UI Institute of Aviation; held internships at the Arkansas Space Center (studying extreme life-form called methanogens, presumed to be in Martian soil), at a biomedical engineering laboratory at Mayo Clinic (studying proteins in asthmatic patients) and at a microbiology lab in Lincolnwood (testing Snickers and M&Ms for salmonella); James Scholar and published researcher.

Fun fact: Visits relatives in Serbia every year. Quote: "Right before I went to college, my mom developed breast cancer. ... I was always interested in space but ever since that occurrence I wanted to approach science from a medical perspective."

Name: Valeria Laguna

Age; 23

Major: Mechanical engineering

What's next: Job as a process engineer with Procter & Gamble in Kansas City, where Dawn dish soap is made.

In 10 years I hope to be: Working in an integral role in my company, perhaps on a foriegn assignment, and making an impact on my community.

Experience: Studied in France, designing and testing mechanical components with an Airbus contractor; received three other internships, including two with Procter & Gamble; placed third nationally in Society of Women in Engineering Team Tech contest (a year-long partnering with Abbott Labs); played on UI club tennis team for four years; held leadership positions with several engineering student groups; organized fall Women in Engineering Camp.

Fun fact: Born in Venezuela, moved to Florida at age 10 and Chicago in 11th grade.

Quote: "I knew I wanted to study engineering since age 12.... I'm emotionally attached to the engineering quad."

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