Spotlight: Laura Fyfe, MA

The following interview was featured as the PHSRC Spotlight in the March Pre-Health Post, the PHSRC's monthly newsletter. Subscribe today to receive monthly emails with pre-health news, events, and resources.

Laura Fyfe is the Director of Communications in the Pre-Health Student Resource Center. She has worked in the PHSRC for over 15 years across a variety of roles, from student services, program development, administrative support, and communications. She has her undergrad (BS, Family Social Science) and graduate (MA, Strategic Communications) degrees from the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities. 

students at the pamba mesa

You co-led the AHS 3004: Health in Ecuador spring break trip to Ecuador! What was the most impactful part of the trip for you?

This semester, I have had the wonderful opportunity to co-teach our AHS 3004: Health in Ecuador - Humans, Animals, and Ecosystems course, which included traveling over spring break to Ecuador.

We were in the country for 8 full days and they were jam-packed visiting sites in the city of Quito and in many neighboring cities and communities. I could fill this whole newsletter sharing great memories from the trip, like an incredible hike in the mountains, visiting an educational reserve and farm in the rainforest, but for the sake of space I’ll pick one. 

One day we traveled about 2.5 hours northeast of Quito to a small indigenous community, San Clemente, which was high up on a mountainside with an amazing view of the nearby city of Ibarra.

food at the pamba mesa

We were hosted there by Manuel and his community where we took part in a pamba mesa, a traditional indigenous Ecuadorian communal meal that you eat as a group while sitting on the ground. The food was delicious, including some of the best grilled chicken I’ve ever had, a bean ceviche, and a blueberry cornbread dessert that was steamed similarly to a tamale. That was such a special memory, sharing that meal and conversation together in that beautiful setting.

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What do you most enjoy about your role as Director of Communications in the PHSRC - what aspects of your work feel most meaningful?

One of the most meaningful aspects of my role as Director of Communications sounds similar to why many of the students we work with go into health professions - I like helping people! In communications work, that helping looks different than in medicine, of course. For me, that looks like breaking down complicated processes or concepts into easier to understand pieces, or connecting people to resources that will help them move forward in reaching their goals. When first graduating from college with a Family Social Science degree, I was interested in being an advisor or career counselor. What I get to do in my role now is take the knowledge and insights of our dedicated staff in the PHSRC, information from key resources locally and nationally, and find creative ways to share that information widely with the pre-health population on campus.