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Stanton Kochanek

Graduate student by day, dance instructor by night, Stanton Kochanek is constantly on his toes. Stanton is currently in his fifth year of a Ph.D. program, conducting cancer pharmacology research at the University of Pittsburgh, and developing strategies to better identify effective drug treatments in several different cancer types. When he’s not in the lab conducting experiments, Stanton teaches Latin dance at a nearby studio. He also co-directs two dance teams. In other words, he keeps busy.

Stanton was introduced to Latin dance as an undergrad through a friend who taught salsa classes at a local studio. He’s been hooked ever since. Mixing salsa and grad student life means busy days and a schedule that includes regular travel to both academic and dance conferences. Not to mention lots of clothes–directing dance teams not only means choreographing dance moves, but also includes planning and ordering costumes and shoes for all the dancers.

To keep things easy for himself, Stanton relies on Ministry of Supply. He told us, “I need to look professional throughout the day but be comfortable and unrestricted in my movements when teaching and dancing. I literally wear a polo, button-up, or long sleeve from MOS every day.” He loves adding colorful Atlas Socks to an outfit and remarks that no other socks allow him to dance comfortably for hours. With all the travel he does, Stanton also swears by the Kinetic pants and blazers: “having the ability to pack without the worry of wrinkles makes all the difference.”

We were able to fit in a few minutes with Stanton as he was preparing for an upcoming performance. He shared his thoughts on maintaining sanity in the throes of grad student life, the joys of Final Fantasy music, and (of course) laundry.

How do you take your coffee?

Black, I enjoy the taste of unadulterated coffee, though I also enjoy a café au lait on occasions.

What music do you listen to?

I enjoy many varieties of music Latin and otherwise. One of my guilty pleasures, especially if I need to concentrate for long periods of time, are orchestral versions of the Final Fantasy series score. They are the perfect combination of melodic, complex, and serene.

What keeps you up at night?

I really enjoy choreographing dance routines. It gives me great pleasure to watch the metamorphosis of a choreography grow from its nascence into completion when performed on stage. There is a moment of dawning comprehension and wonderment, when you realize that the audience is cheering at something you helped to create.

How do you balance everything?

My days do get quite full, as such I have to organize and prioritize what I need to get done from both research and dance to maximize my time. I also take a little more time to enjoy my mornings, having a cup of tea and getting ready to maintain my sanity.

What’s one thing you wish you had more time for?

Travel and adventuring, unfortunately being in a lab all the time really puts a damper in the ability to go on any vacations or road trips. I would love to take a trip somewhere quiet and peaceful, not quite remote but as close to it as possible.

Anything else we should know?

The fact that I can machine wash everything is a godsend. I used to dread having to wear anything more than casual due to the bane that is dry cleaning. MOS simplified looking professional and not having to worry about dry cleaning.

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