Student ambassador draws inspiration from opportunities and lasting friendships at GGC.

When senior Makayla Yang, a biology major with a concentration in biochemistry, reflects on her time at Georgia Gwinnett College, it’s personal growth, opportunity and family that come to mind. She came to GGC after a year of dual enrollment while in high school.

“As a high school senior, I knew I wanted a high-quality education at an affordable cost,” Yang said, who will graduate debt-free. “I could tell from the classes I took at GGC that it was a school that offered a lot of opportunity for aspiring students.”

According to Yang, GGC enables her to learn about herself and become more passionate about her endeavors. She cites time management and networking among the many skill sets she’s honed and is grateful to continuously meet people of different backgrounds that enrich her experience.

“I have learned that although education is vital, you must make time for yourself and for people who make you happy,” she said. “I also learned I can better myself by engaging with opportunities that help me continue to grow.”

During her years at GGC, Yang has expanded her network and discovered firsthand what it’s like to be in the work force. She participated in the United Nations Security Council simulation in Washington D.C. with the Honors Program; worked as a full-time student volunteer at Gwinnett Medical Center; obtained officer positions in Relay for Life, the Pharmacy Club and Tri Beta Biology Honor Society; worked as a student lab assistant for the School of Science and Technology; and participated in undergraduate research at the University of Georgia.

“Makayla knows her career interests and has extensively researched several careers related to pharmacy. Knowing these two things has helped her to develop a career pathway that is in demand and suited to her interests,” said Dr. Kevin O’Halloran, associate professor of chemistry and Yang’s academic mentor. “She has worked hard every step of the way during her time at GGC, so I know that she’ll carry that trait with her to her graduate studies and career. I’m very proud of her!”

Although Yang cherishes all of her GGC experiences, it’s the friendship and guidance she receives from professors and fellow students that mean the most to her.

“Everyone is like family at GGC; professors know you by name, students are passionate, and the overall staff is amazingly supportive and caring,” she said. “College is more than just what you learn in the classroom. It is also about the people you meet who help you on your journey.”

Yang plans to take a gap-year after graduation in order to study for the PCAT and GRE so she can pursue a Pharm.D./Ph.D. She also plans to work at an internship or technician position in a lab or pharmacy and continue to volunteer at the hospital.

“I also, of course, plan to travel and spend time with family and friends doing things that make me happy.”