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Medical Humanities

Where are you from? 

I’m from Corvallis, Oregon.

What drew you to psychology, medical humanities, and chemistry as your fields of interest?

I’ve always been interested in human perceptions, behavior, and lived experience. Psychology has been the field that has really allowed me to explore these interests. In addition to mental health, I love that this field encompasses social and cultural aspects of behavior and cognition. Chemistry is such a wonderful compliment to understanding this, because it shows how biochemical processes relate to our feelings, perceptions, memories, etc. When it comes to medicine, all of these things are directly applicable. While science, tests, and diagnostics are all important aspects of medicine, it’s also about validating and connecting with patients to assist them in their healing journey. This is the part of medicine that drew me to the medical humanities. The medical humanities ties my interests in medicine, psychology, and chemistry all together and has been critical in helping me explore all of my interests from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.

What has been your experience as a student of both the College of Liberal Arts and the Honors College?

Being a student of the College of Liberal Arts (CLA) and Honors College (HC), I’ve received endless support and encouragement from others to explore my interests and challenge myself. I think the HC has been really helpful in allowing me to engage more deeply with the CLA and vice versa. Through both, I’ve been able to connect with many mentors and dive into research that I’m passionate about. I've also been able to take honors classes that encourage me to engage in interdisciplinary exploration and dive deeper into what the CLA has to offer.

Have you started your honors thesis? If yes, what’s the topic and/or focus of your research? If not, are you considering any ideas so far?

Yes! My honors thesis is about racial microaggressions in healthcare and how they impact perceptions, medical mistrust, historical trauma, and institutional betrayal. Under the mentorship of Dr. Regan Gurung, I’ve been able to analyze student perceptions of racial microaggressions perpetrated by physicians against Black and Indigenous patients. We are in the process of wrapping up the quantitative survey portion and just received the funding we need to conduct a qualitative portion. The qualitative part will involve interviews with Black patients about their healthcare experiences. We hope that this portion of my thesis will uplift the lived experiences of Black folks who have experienced physician perpetrated microaggressions and help inform equity related action in healthcare.

What have been some of your favorite classes taken?

This is so hard! So far I’ve really enjoyed Biomedical Ethics, Psychology of Trauma and Resilience, and Organic Chemistry. All of the different HC colloquia have also been a lot of fun and have contained a lot of new and exciting subjects for me.

What are you hoping to do after you graduate?

I plan to take a gap year so that I can take some time to focus on my personal/professional development, prepare for the MCAT, and apply to medical school. I’m not 100% sure what this will encompass, but I am looking into international research opportunities, bioethics internships, or possibly working as a survivor advocate. Once I take the leap toward medical school, I want to become a physician-scientist so that I can work with patients while continuing to do research.

How do you feel that your experience in CLA and HC is setting you up for success?

During my time in the CLA and HC, I've had numerous opportunities to engage in interdisciplinary research and action, ask difficult questions, collaborate with others, and experience constant self-growth. These experiences have not only equipped me with valuable skills but have also shaped my approach to challenges, fostering a mindset that has helped me push myself throughout my time at OSU and will serve me as I work to become a person-centered physician and researcher.