Degree: B.A. in Biology
Graduation Date: May 2017
High School/Hometown: Howell High School/Farmingdale, NJ
Clubs/Activities: Lacrosse (captain), Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, Omicron Delta Kappa, Tri Beta Biological Honor Society (vice president), Sigma Zeta, Chi Alpha Sigma, Pre-Med/Health Club
At the intersection of science, sports, and medicine, you’ll find biology major Tyler Verdoni, who demonstrates how a student’s efforts can lead to exciting experiences and rewarding opportunities.
“Coach [Mickey] Hover from the men’s lacrosse team recruited me to come play at GCU out of Brookdale Community College, and after coming for a visit, [I] realized that GCU, as a smaller institution with a tighter-knit community and a good biology program, was the school for me,” says Tyler, who transferred to GCU as a junior.
“Being a student-athlete has allowed me to effectively balance my schedule. To balance going to class, working out, lacrosse practice, and studying, I have to block out my time so I can accomplish what I have planned for that day. It has given me structure throughout my four years of college.”
Lacrosse put many demands on Tyler, especially since he is the captain of the team. But he explains that Coach Hover emphasizes the student aspect of being a student-athlete “first and foremost.” That emphasis isn’t lost on Tyler, who is the recipient of the NCAA Division II Athletics Directors Association Academic Achievement Award.
Tyler’s brother Ryder, a sophomore, is also on the lacrosse team and in the pre-med program.
“Ryder decided to come to GCU because it is a smaller institution and he gets to continue his lacrosse career for another four years,” says Tyler.
As an undergraduate, Tyler conducted research on an invasive dune grass (Carex kobomugi) with Carolyn Bergman, Ph.D., GCU’s pre-med advisor and associate professor of biology, following the work of Louise Wootton, Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Biology. They received funding from the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ) and took part in the ICFNJ Undergraduate Research Symposium at the Liberty Science Center in March. Tyler says that they hope their results will shed light on how the species is spreading and how to control its growth.
Tyler’s diverse academic and athletic background led to an interest in podiatry. He was first exposed to the field through Hal Ornstein, D.P.M., a family friend, and Richard Primavera, D.P.M., a lecturer at GCU. He also had the opportunity to shadow several doctors during his GCU career. After graduation, Tyler will attend Temple University’s School of Podiatric Medicine.
“I aim to specialize in sports medicine and help by giving back to the athletic community that I have been a part of my entire life.”
Story contributed by Heidi V. Chaya ’17, who will graduate in December 2017 with a B.A. in English and a concentration in writing.