A Science Whiz, Alla Kozubenko Bound for UW Medical School at Age 19

Zag Grads 2019

May 09, 2019
Gonzaga News Service; Video by Harry Smith ('21)

SPOKANE, Wash. — Alla Kozubenko, a graduating Gonzaga University biochemistry student who essentially skipped middle school, will attend the University of Washington School of Medicine this fall at age 19.

Kozubenko was not challenged in middle school, so her mother home-schooled her until she enrolled in the Running Start program as a student at Spokane’s Ferris High School. The program allowed her to attend Spokane Community College during her last two years of high school.

Jennifer Shepherd, Ph.D., professor and chair of chemistry and biochemistry at Gonzaga, said Kozubenko exhibits maturity and wisdom far beyond her years, and displays exceptional skill in reading and critically analyzing scientific literature.

“She is incredibly motivated and curious and has proactively sought out instrumental methods for solving a particularly difficult analytical problem in one project,” Shepherd said. “There are days when she is even more excited about solving the puzzle than I am.”

In one chemistry course, Kozubenko gave six presentations that Shepherd described as nearly flawless and she has contributed valuable insights to every class discussion.

Kozubenko is not only an incredibly sharp student but has the makings of a truly excellent researcher, is a joy to be around and is well-liked by her classmates, Shepherd added.

“In my view, Alla represents the absolute best that GU students aspire to,” Shepherd said. “And it is gratifying to see how the coursework and intellectual culture of our department and the College of Arts and Sciences has helped shape her intellectual development.”

For her part, Kozubenko is pleased with her Gonzaga experience.

“Gonzaga really taught me that competitiveness is not necessarily what you should seek,” she said. “Community is very important as well because you need someone to support you through the stress.”

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