Meet Zoe VanderHoek, our Conference Advisory Board’s registration lead. After graduating from Oregon State University this summer, she plans to attend medical school to become an OB/GYN. When I interviewed Zoe, she was a bit quiet at first, but she quickly opened up to share her love for Mortar Board and her devotion to the advancement of women. Read further to learn more about Zoe and her empathy for others.
Why is Mortar Board important to you?
Zoe: Mortar Board is important to me because I really value service. I think it’s a great opportunity to make connections with other people around the country that have similar values and share the same Ideals. I also really believe in the advancement of women in policy and professional life. That’s part of Mortar Board’s purpose. I really identify with that.
What is your favorite Mortar Board memory?
Zoe: I really enjoyed conference last year. It was an opportunity for me to get out of my comfort zone. I’m an introverted person but being able to go out and make those connections—you’re just kind of thrown into the deep end. I made a couple friends in my section as well as outside of my section. I almost didn’t go, so I’m really glad that it worked out.
Who or what inspires and motivates you?
Zoe: One of the big themes of my education and my career goals is helping women. I eventually want to be an OB/GYN because I really believe in women’s rights and women’s advancement. I also want to correct disparities that are occurring in medicine and in policy among women in different demographic groups. That really motivates me to become the most educated and best version of myself I can be so that I can make those changes.
If you won $100 million in the lottery today, what would you do with it?
Zoe: That’s a lot of money. I’d probably invest a lot of it into traveling to get to know different cultures. I haven’t really traveled a whole lot, and I think that’s a really important aspect of being culturally literate. A lot of the money would probably go to charity as well.
If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island with all your basic needs taken care of, what two items would you want with you?
Zoe: I’m tempted to go for practical items. Something that removes the salt from water so I can stay alive and hydrated, and probably a knife or a hatchet. Something that would help with building things and other tools that would be necessary.
What song do you always have to sing along to, no matter where you are?
Zoe: I’ve been singing along to “Our Song” by Taylor Swift. I’ve been listening to that since I was little. It’s just a very nostalgic experience each time it comes on.
What’s the last gift you gave someone?
Zoe: I gave my mom a picture of her two dogs that have recently passed away. It’s a photo that I took while we were stilling living on the farm. I gave her that and she was very emotional. It’s on her wall on her bedroom now.
What is your favorite thing about yourself?
Zoe: I think that I have a high attention to detail and it’s really helped me in all aspects of my life. I’m pretty artistic and it helps me with that. It also really helps me with school and learning how my brain functions to study the best.
What would you say to members thinking about going to our virtual conference?
Zoe: It is still a valuable experience. We can make the most of it and still make those connections. It’s really difficult with it being virtual, but if you throw yourself into it and get out of it what you want, it can still be super helpful and you can learn a lot from it on how to best run your chapters. It’s just how you make it, right? You can attend and not pay attention, or you can give it your all and involve yourself in as many things as you reasonably can. I think that that’s the best way to get a lot out of it, to throw yourself in.