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Profiles

Saul Bello Rojas ’16

The temperature dropped 30 degrees on the drive north from Atlanta when Saul Bello Rojas ’16 and his parents first visited Lake Forest College.

The changing leaves, older buildings alongside newer architecture—and a new gym where he could work out—convinced Rojas that Lake Forest was the place for him. The neuroscience major and chemistry minor, who will graduate on May 7, is a Forester you should know:

Q: What drew you to Lake Forest College?

A: “I first found out about Lake Forest College from a physical therapist I met in Atlanta. I didn’t want to go to a big state school, so the fall of my senior year in high school we drove up here to see the campus. It was 60 degrees in Atlanta when we left. As we drove north, the temperature dropped into the 40s, then the 30s. It was pretty cold. But the leaves were still up and it looked really nice, really beautiful. We toured the campus and I liked the mix of buildings—the old buildings like Hotchkiss, and the newer buildings, like the Sports Center. I liked the combination.”

Q: Have you had experiences here—besides your classes—that have helped prepare you for your future?

A: “I joined Lambda Chi Alpha my sophomore year, where there were a lot leadership opportunities and collaboration with students outside my major. I felt a little isolated before that. Lambda Chi helped with my leadership skills and definitely with my ability to communicate with people. I became more confident. Also, I presented at a lot of science conferences, which also helped me with general communication skills. When I was interviewing for jobs, future employers liked that I presented before an audience and explained my research. It didn’t matter if I won a competition, they liked that I had that experience. I’m surprised at how much that was going to mean. I also worked at the Math Resource Center as a science tutor, which helped me think on my feet. I had to think of multiple ways to address a problem, because every person learns differently.

Q: What do you do in your free time?

A: “I like going into the city, checking out different restaurants. I love food and there’s always somewhere new I want to try. On a Friday evening, a Saturday afternoon, or a Saturday evening, I like to go to the city. I also like working out. I work out upwards of two hours in the gym. In nice weather, I run six to eight miles in town: I go down to the beach, the neighborhood around the College, and in downtown Lake Forest.”

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: “I’ve got a job as a research assistant in the ophthalmology department at Northwestern University. I’m going to take a year off of going to school and decide if I want to go to grad school or medical school—or maybe both. I think I can make a better decision on what I want to do, if I take some time off.”

Q: Any advice?

A: “In terms of school: ‘Don’t be afraid to ask for help.’ I know there’s a pride thing that smart people don’t get help—but smart people get help when they need it. It’s better to get help and understand rather than have to withdraw from a course. In life: ‘Definitely give everything a chance.’ You might stumble on something that you really like.”

Q: Parting words?

A: “Offer help whenever you can, because you may not know who will need it—and you may never know who you’ll impact in the end.”