English Student and Alumni Profiles
B.S. in Biochemistry and English
Working on my MD (less than four months to go!)
(Soon, I will actually be getting paid as a resident).
Other jobs, awards, honors since graduation
Alpha omega alpha honor medical society;
Why did you major in English?
I had always been a rapacious reader and loved writing stories as a young girl. Early in my education, I had amazing teachers who fostered my love of literature and helped develop my writing skills. My favorite high school teacher, Mrs. Spohn, paved the path that lead to my pursuit of English with a trial of Euripides' Medea; scintillating discussions of Miss Havisham, the Tickler, and poor Pip and his passions; the tragedy and trysts of Maxim de Winter, and the figurative meaning of apples in Kafka’s Metamorphosis. I knew after taking her many English classes that I could not live without English in my life! I loved Shakespeare and science; Tolkien and trauma; Dickens and doctors; and Austen and ailments (like atrial fibrillation)!
Tell us about a skill you learned/developed as an English major that has helped you out in the "real world"
When applying to residency, you have to write the dreaded, personal statement. In a single page, you have to reveal your entire essence and excellence without boasting, explain why you want to pursue the chosen field, detail how you would excel in that field, and present your plan for your future place in that field! In addition, this statement must have seamless transitions between these topics and be completely, error-free. It is an intimidating task that humbles even the haughtiest! Writing this statement was extremely difficult and would have proved nearly impossible if I did not have the firm foundation of grammar and good writing from CUA. I knew how to start with a story and transition from idea to idea using topic sentences and smooth transitions. Most importantly, I knew how to edit my statement until I literally never in my life wanted to read my statement again. Not only did my English degree help with this task, but I also was able to proof many of my friends’ statements. In addition, my English degree aided in conveying complex information in an understandable way. In medicine, doctors learn a new language of elaborate physiology and pathology and have to learn to communicate that complexity in a manner in which patients can understand it! It is hard to explain cardiac arrhythmias, inflammation of the gallbladder, and failure of the kidneys. I definitely think that my study of English has made me more aware of and attuned to the importance of language and communication in the doctor-patient relationship!
What was the best English class you took at CUA and why?
I really did love all of them, but I really liked Dr. Okuma's Intensive Reading Narrative and Dr. Wheatley's Intensive Reading Drama. I almost forgot Arthurian Literature with Dr. Wright and who could forget the History of English Literature with Dr. Kopar. Basically, I can't pick one because all of the classes were amazing, made me think critically, and made me read some of the most difficult books!
If you could give one piece of advice to current students, what would it be?
Read and write as often as you can now while you have the time! If you are reading a book and do not like it, stop reading it and find a book that you enjoy! There are more books than you will ever be able to read in your lifetime, so read what you like the most!
Which text was your favorite to read while you were a student at CUA? In which class did you read it?
This is so difficult! I would have to say that I enjoyed Classical Rhetoric for the Modern Student in English. I forget what the class was called. I also loved Jane Eyre! I enjoyed pretty much every play from Intensive Drama including The Shoemaker's Holiday and Translations.
What’s next for you?
Residency in Emergency Medicine and hopefully some writing along the way! I have had some amazing conversations about great works of literature while examining a patient!