We’ll start out by asking a little bit about you and how you got to the University of Minnesota! How did you decide on starting your undergraduate journey at the U of M?
I’m so excited to share my story as a pre-health student! I’m in my 3rd year of my Biology, Society, and Environment major in CLA and I’m minoring in Public Health. I started off at the U of M as a PSEO student still in high school. I initially chose the U for PSEO because it’s a big school with many opportunities, and I’m still at the U because I love the communities I’ve found here.
What got you interested in pre-health?
Honestly, my parents initially pushed me into it because it’s a safe route that leads to a stable lifestyle. I dismissed their badgering to focus on finding what I was passionate about instead. As I explored college on my own, I found health to be the type of career field I could make the biggest difference in. Medical care, which has significant and historical standing in society, can still be greatly improved to provide the best care for patients who may need it most. My plan is to become a PA in OB/GYN because I love women and advocating for sexual health.
You took AHS 1901: Health in the Tropics! What was being in Panama like and did this change the way you view health and health professionals?
Going to Panama was incredible, especially to have up close experiences and observations with different variations of health; human, animal, and environmental. I was practically in class all day for the 11 days abroad since I was almost always doing something with my peers and professors, but this class was fun and very informative. I should also acknowledge how unreal it felt to be abroad while being constantly notified of the pandemic unfolding in the US. Moreover, seeing organizations like Floating Doctors and Youth with a Mission has expanded what I thought possible by challenging my preconceived notion of what it meant to be a healthcare professional. The organizations would travel to indigenous communities throughout Panama to provide medical services or healthcare education. I believed that I could only provide direct care in hospital settings, but now I know I could bring that same meaningful service to whole communities that lack easy access to healthcare.
Congrats on your Community Health Initiative (CHI) Undergraduate Scholarship! What has your work with MLK Program looked like and how has the scholarship affected you?
Thank you! The CHI Scholarship provided a generous award to my financial aid that I am so grateful for. It gave me confidence in the academic path I’m taking, and because since I have less financial stress, it also inspired me to pursue the clinical internship that I currently have. I was admitted into the Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Program when I officially became a freshman at the U. The MLK Program is an academic advising program for students who are especially interested in learning more about social justice, power, and privilege. This program provides a CLA First Year Experience two-semester course taught by your academic advisor that teaches not just about resources at the U, but also includes social justice themes. Because of this program, I’ve become more aware of the actions I can take to advocate against injustices and want to further educate myself on these matters, but now in the context of healthcare.
It’s a strange year as we’ve all come to realize. Do you have any tips or advice for students trying to stay motivated in this virtual space?
My biggest advice is to find a community that ties you to the U, whether that be a student club, an organization, or a study group. This connection doesn’t have to be established in-person and on-campus, but maintaining a social network based on the U can provide you with easier access to many resources and help you feel less isolated. This is especially true for me because all of my courses are completely online so I’m no longer on campus. Another tip is to organize an agenda for all your assignments and due dates. This is crucial as different professors use different methods to communicate important information to students such as emails, announcements on Canvas, syllabus, recorded lectures, etc. It’ll be easier to have it recorded in your agenda than to try and find it online or worse, end up completely forgetting about the online quiz that is already due.