A guitar-strumming neuroscientist with a black belt in Taekwondo? Why not? William is on his way, with two of these boxes checked and a clear – while challenging – path to the third. Two interests that have remained constant since childhood are music and biology, he told us. He studied piano, then switched in eighth grade to guitar, becoming first chair in the orchestra at Brooklyn Technical High School. His interest in biology, however, suffered when he took an AP Biology class and found it boring. But he had become interested in psychology, and now is aiming for a career in neuroscience. That goal probably owes something to his admiration for a physician who has been one of his mentors, and who, William said, would take in any patient at
any time. Another mentor was his Taekwondo master, whose death from cancer reinforced both William’s devotion to the martial art and his determination to eventually teach it to others. Teaching skills to others is something William already knows something about. He volunteers at the Astoria Values community organization, whose cofounder noted William’s “tremendous leadership ability” as well as his “generous” approach to teaching the children who are his music pupils. For the next few years. though, William’s emphasis will be on learning, at the seven-year combined program of the City University of New York’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and the university’s School of Medicine.