Model student picks pre-med over pre-game

Phat Nguyen, Sports Editor

Collegiate student-athletes are unique breed. While NCAA Division-I athletes are allowed to receive a certain amount of compensation for their athletic endeavor, Division-III athletes are not reimbursed at all.

While most get a chance to continue to compete in a sport that they love in college, almost all of them will go professional in something other than sports.

For Wilkes-Barre native Danielle Yaros, those aspirations of one day becoming an orthopedic surgeon were greater than her desire to compete as gymnast at the University of Chicago, Ill. While competing as a Division-I Big Ten athlete, she faced fierce talent from Colorado, LSU and Florida.

Now as a senior pre-med biology major at Wilkes University, she seeks to better understand chipmunks and their feeding habits; whether they are scatter hoarders or larder hoarders.

“I still like the sport, but it’s just not worth it to sacrifice my grades for a sport that I was going to be done within four years,” Yaros said. “I love gymnastics, but there’s not much I could do with it unless I was going to go to the Olympics or do anything professional with it.”

Aside from her primary focus on school and the fact that she was spending 40-50 hours per week doing gymnastics, Yaros decided she wanted to come home to Wilkes-Barre to attend school at Wilkes after her sophomore year.

“I just did it for fun and happened to be really good at it,” Yaros said. “I just competed because I loved the sport. I never really took the sport too seriously though.”

The Wilkes biology department was the perfect fit for her interests. Yaros was taking classes very similar to what was being offered at Wilkes.

“I was originally a biochemistry major, but when I looked at the classes here at Wilkes my biochemistry classes out there were more like the upper level biology classes here like Dr. Steele’s Animal Behavior class. I’m not as interested in chemistry.”

When she was still in high school, she actually considered going to Wilkes for the pharmacy program but later went on to find it wasn’t for her.

“I actually thought I wanted to be a pharmacist for a while, but after volunteering in a pharmacy for six years and really didn’t love it too much,” Yaros said. “It just wasn’t for me. I need more action.”

Missing her friends and family and the ability to go to school and workout casually, ended up being the best option. When she did come back, opportunity struck as Wilhelmina Modeling agency showed interest almost immediately. Since she was no longer a NCAA athlete, she signed on as a model.

“They contacted me and things worked out. I just love working out, but its hard because its like a 3-hour drive from here to New York. And it’s a full day’s work meeting clients or doing photo shoots. During the summer, I got to go four times a week if I needed to. Now with school its toned down because I don’t want to miss class. ”

Ideally Yaros plans to attend either medical school or graduate school in New York with hopes of continuing models for Wilhelmina.

“I’m not sure if I’ll go to a medical school in New York, but get accepted somewhere else in the country, I’m not sure if I’ll take that or just go to grad school in New York so I could keep working for them,” Yaros said.

Most of her clientele is based in New York, but companies such as Under Armour, who are based in Baltimore, Md., will meet her in her New York headquarters.

“The jobs are really fun,”Yaros said. “I like to work out a lot and most of the jobs I do you have to really be able to do the work they want you to do.”

When she was working for Runner’s World she was doing their exercises for four hours and was doing recording for up to six hours.

“I also did two [photo] shoots for Self [magazine] which were about eight hours each,” Yaros said.

Contrary to popular opinion, Yaros stated that the workouts are intense and require more effort than they seem.

She went on to describe how demanding photographers are and how they don’t stop shooting as the model must continually workout until then the perfect shot is taken.

“You actually have to be able to do what you can do,” Yaros said. “If you can’t, it kind of drags on even longer till things are perfect. You can almost never get the right shot on the first move, so you’ll be doing that move like a billion times until you get the perfect picture.”

While school is her main priority now, Yaros still makes time to work out every day.

She has perfected the art of multitasking according to senior biology major Katie Jescavage who has seen here work out on an elliptical while studying from her iPad simultaneously.

“She has her machine cranked up all the way while she’s looking at her bio notes on her iPad,” Jescavage said. “It’s absolutely incredible.”

“I usually just do a lot of cardio, and I’ve learned how to read my notes, and type up emails while I’m on the elliptical,” Yaros said. “I basically do all my work while I’m on the elliptical, otherwise it’s like a waste of time, I guess.”

The senior biology major has things down to a science. Whenever she commutes to New York during the school year, she has to get up at 4 a.m. and take the 5:30 a.m. bus to get to New York by 9 a.m.

She prefers bus over driving to allow time to study and do homework while not having to worry about parking when she finally arrives in the Big Apple. The photo shoots usually last until 5 p.m. where she goes back home to do more homework and then go to sleep.