Two of Washington University in St. Louis’ largest student groups are led by one very busy junior: John Jachimiak. As co-president of Heart for the Unhoused, Jachimiak travels to shelters across the region to conduct health screenings. And as president of the campus QuestBridge chapter, Jachimiak gives scholars resources, a voice and, most importantly, a community.
The work is all-consuming. When he is not arranging a doctor’s visit for a Heart for the Unhoused patient, he is organizing a dinner for QuestBridge members. And when he is not writing a grant for medical supplies, he is helping a classmate tap into the Student Success Fund to cover an emergency expense.
And around all of those things, he is pursuing his studies in neuroscience in Arts & Sciences or practicing the MCAT in preparation for a career in medicine and public health.
“Honestly, I’m not sure how John does it all, but he is driven by the belief that everyone deserves a champion,” said Theresa Nguyen, a first-year student and QuestBridge scholar. “He really cares about the people on this campus and in the St. Louis community who didn’t get all of the breaks and all of the opportunities.”
People, in other words, like himself.
Jachimiak grew up outside of South Bend, Ind., with two siblings and a mother who worked hard to make ends meet. Still, times were tough, tougher than he realized.
“I didn’t grow up thinking I was especially underprivileged, even though we lived near the poverty line and had our house foreclosed on,” Jachimiak recalled. “As a single mom, my mom did a very good job hiding our situation.”