Self-Exploration and Community Cultivation, From Dance to Medicine

2023 Grad Profile: Victoria Daylor ‘23PBPM on how a genetic condition, which influenced her dance career, brought her to medicine and the Postbac Premed Program.

April 22, 2023

Originally from Houston, Texas, contemporary dancer Victoria Daylor ‘23PBPM shares how research into hEDS, a genetic condition she has which creates hypermobility, sparked a passion for medicine which led her to the Postbac Premed Program. 

Tell us about your path to GS!

Before starting at Columbia University, I was a contemporary dancer having performed across the U.S. and abroad. My passion for movement was always intertwined with my fascination with anatomy and rehabilitation. In 2020, I became aware that my "bendy" abilities as a dancer were in fact due to a genetic condition (hEDS: hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos syndrome) that affects connective tissue. In learning more about this intriguing syndrome, I felt drawn to the field of medicine. I have since had the opportunity to research and publish articles about hEDS, and I use Instagram to spread awareness and resources related to hEDS and symptomatic joint hypermobility. I feel lucky to have great passion for the paths I've followed in my life thus far.

What has been your proudest accomplishment at Columbia?

In all honesty, when I began classes I was terrified that I wouldn't make it through the program, so I have celebrated each win since! One specific thing that comes to mind is during orientation week, I co-founded the Postbac Premed Research Journal Club, and am currently the President. I knew I was interested in biomedical research, but without any firsthand experience, felt intimidated by it. The club was designed to facilitate discussion, topic ideas, skills, networking, and resources for any research experience level. It has been incredibly fulfilling to create a community within GS. 

Who are some people who have contributed the most to your Columbia experience?

I really enjoyed learning physics from Professor Michael Tuts. His dedication to teaching was immediately apparent. I remember his course page was the first one full of information, with a video introducing himself. After being out of college for 4 years, being able to see my professor before classes began eased my transition back into school. He provided ample resources, videos, and humor in his teaching. He also kindly invited his classes to faculty dinners to get to know everyone, which was definitely appreciated. Thank you Professor Tuts!

What are your plans for after graduation?

I will be applying to medical school this cycle, and working as a Research Specialist at the Norris Lab. There I will continue studying the genetic cause and biology of hEDS. I look forward to the next chapter! 

What advice would you give to a student who's about to start their GS journey?

Especially during orientation, my advice is to talk to people, and trust that everyone is nervous, it isn’t just you. I have made some incredible friends here, that have been my rock through it all. We studied together, tutored each other, and continued to provide encouragement through the Program. Getting through these two years wouldn't have been the same without them!