Every Summer, the Vassar Team holds a churro eating competition for the new class of minions. They have one hour to eat as many cream/strawberry-filled churros as possible. The winner of each summer records a video after the challenge that will be played before the start of the subsequent competition as motivation. The 2021 winner, David Tanner, ate 14 churros.
Perhaps one of the best aspects of the Vassar Research Team is the group commitment to promoting a community environment of camaraderie, teamwork, fun, and support. Community and collaboration between students, residents and physicians is a hallmark of this team, and one of the biggest reasons why I joined in the first place. Uniquely, Dr. Vassar calls us a “research team” rather than a “research lab.” That title is given by no mistake as we all want each other’s success, and our community feels more like one big team rather than individual projects. For example, this year, we took a break from research, and I placed 2nd in the annual Vassar Team Churro Eating Contest. We were playing music, cheering each other on, and giving ourselves a sugar rush. The churro-off is just one of many ways we seek opportunities to have fun and build our community. Yes, the Vassar Research Team publishes high-impact papers and improves medical research, but what I believe truly sets us apart is the community that has been built. I look forward to the opportunity to not only carry on that camaraderie, but to continually expand upon what has been established as perhaps the most community-based research teams you can find. – Philo Waters, OMS-II