Pedersen connects with others through service
Thursday, January 21, 2021
Zane Pedersen has spent his whole life in Oklahoma and hopes to attend medical school in Oklahoma starting next fall. He is an honors student majoring in physiology with a pre-med focus and a psychology minor. He has an impressive list of accolades and has held leadership positions in multiple organizations across campus and in his fraternity. One of his favorite organizations is Into the Streets.
"I quickly found out that I love Into the Streets," he said. "I've been a part of it for three years now and am on the executive team. I have a great respect for everyone who has served on it. That's not just the executive team but the thousands of people who have come and given up a Saturday to help the Payne County community."
To Pedersen, Into the Streets is not just a day to help people clean up their yard or help them with projects around their homes, but rather a chance to connect with people. Service plays a big role in his life and he aims to serve in any way he can.
"I am passionate about rising up and helping to serve the elderly population, which I think is highly disregarded in Western culture especially," Pedersen said.
Another one of his major responsibilities has been his fraternity, where he has served on both the executive team and the cabinet. He has also served as Homecoming chair.
"My thoughts and prayer go out to all the small local business who were sadly affected by this year's lack of Homecoming. I thought about how this town desperately does need Homecoming, even though it may seem trivial to many of us. To many of us it just means pomping hours and this and that. Yet for a lot of families and independent business, it is a huge part of their life."
Pedersen is also active within the College of Arts and Sciences, where he serves on the curriculum committee and also the vice president of the CAS Student Council. He enjoys serving as a liaison between students and faculty and meeting different people in CAS. One goal that he sets for himself every semester is truly getting to know his professors, not simply as instructors but as people.
"I try to make it a goal every semester to go and meet all of my professors in their office hours, just to hear their interests and why they like teaching. I want to know them as people," he said.
As a land-grant university, OSU has a focus on research, which is something Pedersen has thoroughly enjoyed. His first lab experience was in psychology, because that was his original major.
"I joined a research lab with a brilliant man named Davide Ponzi, who is sadly no longer at this university," Pedersen said. "We worked with psychology and biology fused together in the way of hormone studies. I loved hearing about his beliefs and the way he pursued research. It was intriguing to me, his need, his intrinsic need to really further research."
After changing his major to physiology, Pedersen began working in Dr. Jodie Wiggins' lab, where he is doing genetic analysis of lizards in regard to sex differentiation. As an honors student, he will be given the chance to present his research in the spring to earn his honors degree. Not only has he worked in multiple labs on campus, but he has also worked in a third-party lab.
"I was fortunate enough to intern at a research facility this summer, specifically at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, where I worked as a tech on COVID-19 antibody research," Pedersen said. "It was a ton of fun."
With so much going on in his life, his support system has played a huge role in helping him balance the pressures of schools, extracurriculars and staying sane.
"I do think I am extremely blessed in life because of my support unit. I have so many different people that are a part of it. I wish that I could shout out each individual and praise each because I have gotten to see so many great characteristics from everyone in my support unit."