Trent Henderson is an undergraduate student studying nutrition and health sciences and will celebrate his graduation this spring. He’s applying to medical school and plans to take a gap year to travel and volunteer at a safety net clinic.
We asked Trent about his time in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences and his plans for the future.
What inspired you to study nutrition and health sciences?
During my first quarter at Oregon State, I took Nutrition 225 and enjoyed the intersection of science, culture, policy, agriculture and foods.
Nutritional science, in particular, interested me as a relatively new field based on biochemistry and physiology. There are still many unknowns that make nutrition interesting.
What are you most proud of from your time in the CPHHS?
Experience-wise, it’s becoming involved with research. I have been involved with a project over the last year, advised by Professor Maret Traber, a world-known expert in vitamin E, at the Linus Pauling Institute. I had the opportunity to present a poster presentation on campus, and we will hopefully publish our study in an academic journal soon.
Personally, I am proud of juggling work and school. During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, I worked 12-hour night shifts at a hospital as a certified nursing assistant while taking classes full time.
Have you received any scholarships or assistance during your time here?
Yes, over the last year I received a LIFE Scholar grant from the Center for Healthy Aging Research that allowed me to put extensive hours into a research project over the last year.
What are the most memorable lessons you’ve learned as a student?
Life is a balance. It’s important to study hard and learn to apply the content, but it is also essential to connect with others – to build your support network or learn from others’ perspectives.
Equally important – there are a lot of opportunities out there and it’s up to you to take the first step. Sometimes this means getting out of your comfort zone.
What will you miss the most about the CPHHS, OSU or Corvallis?
With CPHHS, I’ll miss learning about applying science to the human experience. I’ll also miss the faculty and peers who bring various experiences and backgrounds.
With OSU and Corvallis, I’ll miss the campus, the McDonald-Dunn Forest, and the sense of community as a student. The Valley Rock Gym and biking everywhere are high on the list, too.
What’s next? What are your plans after graduation?
I am currently in the process of applying to medical schools. Between graduation and matriculation, I will be taking a gap year in my hometown of Bend, Oregon.
Pending an early acceptance, I hope to travel back to Argentina for the first time since 2016 to visit my host families and friends from when I was an exchange student.
Over the next year, I am also planning on returning to volunteer at a safety net clinic, where I will be able to continue working with the Hispanic community in Bend.
What does health and well-being mean to you?
To me, health and well-being mean reaching your potential physically, mentally and socially while being content with where you’re at.
Do you have any advice for incoming students?
Figure out what you like and can see yourself doing in the future. Sometimes this means taking a class or following through with an activity that you are unfamiliar with or may not enjoy. Being able to decide what you want to do confidently and having a variety of experiences or skills under your belt is priceless.
For me, an example of this was taking statistics during the summer of 2020. Programming in R Studio was challenging for me, especially given the world events at the time, but I ended up using it in my research in 2022. In hindsight, I learned I didn’t want to become a biostatistician, but it did become a skill I wouldn’t otherwise have.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Make the most of your time, but don’t forget to take care of yourself!