Graduation Year: 2009
Major: Anthropology, on a pre-med track
Why did you choose Anthropology?
I grew up as a missionary kid in Bolivia, living my whole life there through high school graduation. I didn't anticipate how much of an adjustment moving back to the States full-time would be. Quite by accident I found myself in Intro to Anthro with Dr. Howell my freshman year, and loved it. Much of what we were learning in that class helped me process my own culture shock and outside of that, I found the discussions surrounding culture, symbols and worldviews fascinating. It was that class that made the decision for me.
Which courses made the most impression on you?
Intro to Anthro, obviously, as well as Biculturalism and Human Origins.
How did that affect your career choice?
These classes didn't necessarily affect my career choice, but profoundly impacted the way that I think and approach my relationships with others. In the medical field, a lot of the things I learned directly influence the way I interact with patients, regardless of their background.
Which professors impacted you?
Dr. Howell and Dr. Arnold. Dr. Howell does not shy away from challenging all of our cultural preconceptions, not only at Wheaton but in the evangelical community as a whole. He challenged me to think about the way things were and if that was the best way for them to be. His classes were well-taught and full of great information and new ideas. Dr. Arnold brought a wealth of knowledge and experience with him to his classes. His ideas were rooted in years of research and field work, and being able to learn under him was a privilege.
How and why did you choose to follow your path beyond graduation?
I had planned on going to medical school from my sophomore year at Wheaton. Once I started that path it's rather hard to get off of it, so here I am! My father is a doctor and my hope is to be involved in medicine internationally as well as here in the US, specifically with underserved populations. Anthropology was a great fit for me as I looked forward then to what I'm doing now.
What are you doing now?
I have completed my M.D. at University of Illinois at Chicago and am in my second year of my residency at West Suburban Medical Center, specializing in Family Medicine.
What advice could you give a potential major?
Study something that you love and find fascinating, not something you think is practical. Increasingly so, a bachelor's degree is just another step toward getting a graduate degree, and few "career" jobs start right out of college, meaning that what you study in college does not predict what you will ultimately be doing. Several of my classmates in med school studied biology or biochemistry not because they liked it, but to get in to med school. Very few of them really enjoyed what they learned, but I absolutely loved my Anthro classes and reference that knowledge all the time. If you study something you love, you'll learn it better, remember it longer, and I believe will have a broader, more well-rounded base of knowledge going forward.