Senior Spotlight: Zenya Yanoff

Morgan Mason (

Over our four years at Ursinus, we as a student body are consistently called to action. The daunting question of “What will I do?” stands before us. It seems rudimentary as we are sitting in a classroom of strangers freshman year, just beginning to find our voices, but as each year passes, the question “What will I do?” becomes more relevant to the bigger picture. As our mindsets shift to narrow in on our plans for young adulthood, an internal siren sounds for many. They scramble to piece together what the next move may be, so they have a perfectly crafted answer for the moment when their professor, friend, or family member asks, “What will you do?”

Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major Zenya Yanoff ’22 is making strides towards answering this core question for herself before her feet hit the graduation stage in May. She looks at the world with a much broader scope than most, saying, “it’s hard to know exactly what you will do, but I’ve really learned to be adaptive to the circumstances that present themselves to me.” Instead of finding the question “What will I do?” limiting, it has given her new ways to challenge the plans she has for herself. She is a prime example that the sky has always been the limit at Ursinus. 

Yanoff is as involved as it gets on campus, from being a part of the Women’s Track and Field team, to being an active member of Student Government, LatinX, Brownback-Anders Pre-Health Society, ALMA, Anime Club, Phi Alpha Psi Sorority, and an RA! You can always see her making connections around campus. 

Traveling abroad was always a dream of hers, but due to the pandemic, these plans did not materialize. “We make so many plans but then, you know, there’s not really any guarantee that what you plan for is going to happen,” Yanoff says now. Instead of wallowing in her sorrows, she discovered that she wasn’t the only student facing this issue at the time. She even co-founded a community service club on campus with peers Abby Coachi ‘22, and Kathryn Bjorklund ‘21 called V.IRTU.E, which strives to create virtual community service hour opportunities for students in light of the pandemic. Together, these women were able to identify an issue within the greater community and create a solution. 

Yanoff expressed just how much leadership and community mean to her at Ursinus. “Being so engaged with my community here at UC helped me to solidify my passion for mentoring others,” she stated. This is tightly linked to her dreams for post-grad. Her goal is to become a physician, as she expressed that “patient-centered care is so important. It’s really about making sure patients understand the why behind their treatments; I want to help teach and guide my future patients.” After graduation, she plans on taking a gap year and then applying to medical school. She applied for the Fulbright scholarship to study in Spain for the year as an English teaching assistant. Yanoff is interested in research opportunities and working with nonprofits as she is open to many avenues for herself for her gap year. Best of luck, Zenya!