Over the course of his 21 years, senior Biology major Artem Derkachev has called many locations home. His journey began in a small town in Russia. “I was born in Prokhladny, Russia,” said Derkachev. There, he lived with his parents and grandmother until 1991, when they emmigrated to Spokane, Washington. “I was one and half when my family and I left,” said Derkachev. “My father saw a business opportunity [in the United States].”
Derkachev has traversed across continents and coasts in order to fulfill his dream as a family practitioner. “My dad had ambition to go into the [medical] field in the United States but wasn’t able to,” said Derkachev. As Derkachev grew older, however, his father soon realized his son’s perfectionist tendencies and passion for the sciences.
His family spent the next fifteen years living in the heart of Washington state. However, his father soon realized that there were more opportunities to be had on the east coast. Derkachev explains the reason his father wanted to move. “North Carolina is booming with medical opportunities,” said Derkachev.
He said that his father also felt that moving to North Carolina would give him an opportunity to help other Russian immigrants. “My dad’s [career] involved construction…he wanted to help Russian immigrants by finding them homes,” said Derkachev.
For Derkachev, the transition from Spokane to Charlotte in 2006 was quite a challenge. “Life in Spokane is really easy-going and friendly,” said Derkachev. “Charlotte is a business –based city. Our house was practically in a forest. We only had a few neighbors, and they were very close to us. I’ve lived in a Ballantyne subdivision for the past three years, and I don’t even know my [next door] neighbors.”
As a commuter, Derkachev finds himself somewhat excluded at times from the Queens community. Although he has attended Queens since the start of his freshman year, he is still on occasion mistaken for a transfer student. “One time, a senior at the Mortar Board meeting came up to me and asked if I was a transfer. She had no idea who I was. I’m not known by a lot of people,” said Derkachev.
While the number of his friends at Queens may not be bountiful, his life at home makes up for it. Along with his parents and grandmother, Derkachev lives with his three younger brothers: Anthony,19, Michael,10, and Nicholas, 17 months. Because of his younger siblings, Derkachev balances his academic work with caring for his brothers. “When my mom is working, I babysit Nicholas. There are days when I wake up at 6 a.m. to change his diapers and feed him. He’s growing up so fast; he’s already walking,” said Derkachev, smiling.
In the next five years, Derkachev hopes to be working his way through medical school. “My dream job is to be a family practitioner,” said Derkachev. After graduation in May, Derkachev plans to take a gap year before starting his doctorate degree. “I have a desire to help people. [A family practitioner] is very precise. They aren’t rushed like a midnight surgeon,” said Derkachev.
“Ultimately, I wouldn’t mind ending up back in Washington to settle down. I have a lot of family in Washington, and I’ve built a lot of relationships with people there,” said Derkachev.