Alana Birnhak '16

Name: Alana Birnhak

Year: 2016

Major(s)/Minor(s):  Biology, Chemistry, HSSP, and Legal Studies

Hometown: Franklin Lakes, New Jersey


HC: What are you involved in on campus?

Alana Birnhak:  Community service has undoubtedly been an important and rewarding aspect of my undergraduate experience.  I began as a volunteer for Waltham Group my freshman year and am now a coordinator for Prospect Hill Kids’ Club, an afterschool program located in the Prospect Hill community center which provides academic enrichment and exciting activities for the young students in the area.  In addition, I am a tutor for the English Language Learners Initiative (E.L.L.) where I teach English communication skills to facilities workers at Brandeis who are non-native speakers.  I also play co-ed and intramural volleyball and have been an Orientation Leader. 


HC: What is your favorite part of working with Waltham Group?

AB:  I’ve really loved watching the kids I work with mature over the past several years.  I hope that when I come back to visit Brandeis years down the road, I can visit the kids I have worked with and see that they are successful and happy, and that I have made some sort of meaningful impact on their lives. I have also met some exceptional people through Waltham Group: staff members, volunteers, co-coordinators, the list goes on and on.  As a member of Waltham Group and a coordinator of Prospect Hill Kids’ Club, I have had experiences that I will surely carry with me forever, and through the hard times and the good times, I have truly loved every moment in this organization.


HC: What is it like going to school with your sister?

AB: For the most part, I’ve really enjoyed having my sister on campus with me. She’s someone I know I can constantly rely on. The two of us always manage to get in some sort of trouble…she’s kind of my partner in crime.


HC: What do you want to accomplish before you graduate from Brandeis?

AB:  With only a few more months of my undergraduate career remaining, I feel as though I have accomplished quite at bit here at Brandeis.  At this point, my plans are to spend as much time with my friends as possible and to enjoy my final moments as a college student. 


HC: What are your plans after you graduate?

AB:  I was recently accepted to a couple master’s programs in biochemical and molecular nutrition, which will take me about one to two years to complete.  After that, I’d like to further my education, perhaps by getting my PhD in biochemistry…but I’ve also been looking in to law school or medical school.  I guess you can say I’m a little all over the place right now. 


HC: Do you have any advice for students applying to graduate school?

AB:  Truly seek out your passions.  If you want to play third base for the New York Yankees, that’s awesome.  Go for it.  If you want to become the next Tupac and rap your heart out, don’t let anyone stop you.  If you want to open up your own Jurassic Park, do it.  And do it well. 

Quick facts

Favorite quote:  “Dinner Specials.  B20.  General Gau’s Chicken…$9.25”  - Asia Wok Menu

Favorite musician:  Billy Joel

Idol:  Richard Feynman.  He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for his contributions in quantum electrodynamics.  An eccentric scientist with a magnetic personality.  I highly recommend you check out his lectures if you ever have the chance.

Guilty pleasure:  I guess I shouldn’t tell anyone this, but I really love Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande.  They make great music.  Truth be told, I’d invite them to my next birthday party.

Hidden talent:  I run about five to eight miles every day, so I’d say my physical endurance is a hidden talent. 

Pet peeve:  I really hate when people intentionally drag their feet when they walk.

Most embarrassing moment to date:  10/22/1993-present day