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Florissant Valley Student Receives 2008 Coca-Cola Two-Year Colleges Scholarship

August 15, 2008

Andrew North  
Andrew North

Andrew North, a student at St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley, has been awarded a $1,000 Coca-Cola Two-Year College Scholarship. The scholarship rewards leadership and excellence as demonstrated through academics, community service and/or employment.

North was born in Colombia and adopted by an American family who raised him in California. His adopted father is a St. Louis native.

"I really appreciate growing up in America because my opportunities here far outweighed those I would’ve received as a Latin American orphan," North said.

After receiving a high school diploma in 1994, North attended a nine-month medical assistant program at a vocational college in San Diego. He began working in the field immediately upon graduating for William P. Hitchcock, M.D., owner of a prominent pediatric practice in San Diego.

Following his mother's death in 2003, North attended San Diego Community College for two semesters before relocating to St. Louis to be near his father.

"I decided that it was a good time to be near my dad," said North. "By the time I got to St. Louis, I had already made up my mind to return to school to pursue a degree in the medical field and STLCC-Florissant Valley seemed like a great place to begin."

Due to his interest in the brain and it functions; North decided to focus his studies on neurology and neuroscience. In addition to attending classes full time, North currently works as an intern for the Washington University School of Medicine’s Metabolism Division of Internal Medicine under Dr. Richard Ostlund.

North credits Chaya Gopalan, STLCC-Florissant Valley professor of biology, as one of the people who encouraged him to apply for the internship.

"The internship has really opened doors for me," said North. "Being exposed to both the clinical and research fields has allowed me to determine my ultimate goal."

Among North's other supporters on campus are Sharon Fox, advisor of the campus honor society chapter of Phi Theta Kappa; Eileen Lyons, associate professor in biotechnology; and Edward Fliss, Ph.D., assistant professor in biology.

As president of the Pi Kappa chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, North is no stranger to community involvement. He says that his leadership potential has been greatly fostered through his participation with Phi Theta Kappa and his service to organizations like Better World Books, American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.

"Knowing that my service directly benefits those that started their life as uncertain as I did gives me a sense of human connection that I hadn’t felt before," North said. "I am a better person because of my service to others."

North believes that beginning his college career at two-year college instead of a large university was extremely beneficial because it offered him a springboard to the four-year college experience.

"The teachers and student activities at Florissant Valley are wonderful. The staff and faculty truly make the campus feel like a community and every student is a valued member," said North. "The campus organizations and various events that provide exposure to international cultures make it possible to receive a well-rounded, world education at STLCC."

North is set to graduate from Florissant Valley in spring 2009. He plans to attend Washington University to pursue a combined MD/Ph.D. degree and ultimately become a medical scientist.