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Alejandro Oñate is one of three seniors graduating from the College of Letters & Science to have been selected by Dean Eric M. Wilcots for the Dean’s Prize, one of the College’s highest academic honors. Candidates for this award completed a minimum of 24 Honors Program credits, made significant contributions to UW–Madison and the local community, completed an undergraduate thesis or major research project, and excelled in their classes.

Oñate will continue researching immune therapies to combat cancer in the lab of Dr. Zachary Morris in the Carbone Cancer Center, while making plans for earning an MD-PhD degree and becoming a physician scientist. Oñate has been praised for his development as both a team member and leader, combining thoughtful communication skills, scientific curiosity, and critical thinking on his path through both the Biochemistry and Music (violin performance) majors, with a certificate in biology core curriculum (Biocore). Oñate is also a Mercile J. Lee Scholar.

“He embodies empathy and humility in our weekly violin studio class where he is always eager to give positive and insightful comments to his colleagues and then in turn, to receive others’ suggestions humbly and with gratitude,” says Eugene Purdue, adjunct professor of strings.

Among many community service activities, Oñate brought his music and science passions together when, as a Biocore Outreach Ambassador, he developed an elementary-school program exploring the physics of stringed instruments. He has also played violin and coordinated other School of Music students to perform for patients and staff of the UW Hospital and Clinics.