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My name is Nevin Castellucci, and I am currently a student at the University of Pittsburgh studying bioengineering. This, however, was not my initial goal. I began my college journey at a Pitt branch campus at Greensburg (UPG) where I studied chemistry. At that time, the plan was consistent with my current one—acquire admission into a medical school after transferring to Pitt’s Oakland campus and completing my degree. Like most premed students, I was anxious and under constant stress—striving for the elusive 4.0 GPA. Eventually, I came to the realization that this would all be for nothing if I failed to get into a medical school, so I sought out for a backup plan. I needed a new major that would provide a reasonable living whilst also being a pertinent area of study for a premed student—preparing me for the MCAT. This is how I found bioengineering. Premed bioengineers were common at Pitt, and it was believed that such students had impressive acceptance rates into MD programs.

When I transferred to the Oakland campus, it was quite the adjustment. Academically, classes were much larger and professors had no desire to connect with students. At UPG, professors had office hours daily, so meeting to discuss any questions concerning a lecture was simple. And because class sizes were smaller, there was no line outside a professors office where the wait alone may prevent one from asking his/her question. These were the luxuries I missed and took for granted. Living in Oakland has also been a more different experience, especially from the commuter’s life I was accustomed to at UPG. Of course, this difference was welcomed as Oakland is nothing short of awesome. I loved my first apartment, and my roommates were awesome. My first year as an engineering student, I learned a ton, and met some of the greatest people at Pitt.

My advice to incoming transfers is too keep an open mind and to make as many friends as possible. Fellow engineering students are valuable connections and may even be future colleagues. For some, this is not just advice but rather a prescription for success—friends will offer helpful reminders and will improve your understanding of material. Another piece of advice is to simply have fun. Enjoy your college experience, and try to make time for yourself every once in a while. Hail to Pitt!

Nevin Castellucci is a student at Pitt majoring in bioengineering with a concentration in medical devices and pursuing minors in both mechanical engineering and chemistry. He hopes to matriculate into a medical school for the fall term of 2017 immediately after graduation. Nevin has been a hospice volunteer for senior independence since the summer of 2014 and currently holds a research position at the Center for Biotechnology and Bioengineering. His hobbies include playing chess, reading/writing poetry, and playing basketball.

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