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Carolina Vogel

Carolina Vogel

Medical Student

Marian University


"When I graduated I knew I had been accepted into medical school and would be starting in the Fall. I was terrified that I didn’t know enough, hadn’t learned or retained enough, or that I’d be the bottom of the class compared to my peers. Fortunately, I did as people advised and did not spend my summer trying to study- I spent it enjoying time with my friends and family. I would definitely advise the same to any student feeling uncertain that they’re worthy of the acceptance to a graduate or professional program that they have received. Purdue prepared me so well for medical school and my mental health and relationships were much better off once school began in August after enjoying my summer vacation!"

What was your major/minor at Purdue and when did you graduate?

I majored in Health and Disease Biology with minors in Women’s Studies, LGBT Studies, and Psychology. I graduated in 2017.

What was your most compelling class and why?

Well, I met my fiancé in Dr. Anderson’s Genetics Lab… our first “date” involved counting drosophila together in lab.. and truly that class changed my life. First and foremost, I thought I was going to do genetic biology.. until that semester during the genetics lecture and lab when I realized I don’t really like genetics and I’m not nearly as good at it as James is (who is now earning his PhD at Vanderbilt studying mitochondrial inheritance, go figure!). And as I mentioned, I met James Held, a fellow biology student and my soon-to-be husband whom has made my life better and full in so many ways. A less cheesy and more career focused answer would be that I loved Dr. Anderson’s endocrinology class and Dr. Camarillo’s Reproductive Biology course. I have always thought I wanted to work in women’s health and now that I’m in medical school I’m thinking Family Medicine with a women’s health focus. Both of those courses absolutely fascinated me and furthered my interest in the field which has continued to this day.

What are you currently working on?

Now that I am a third year medical student I will soon start my rotations. This means I’ll spend about a month in each specialty in hospitals or doctor’s offices around the state learning as much as I can and gaining hands-on experience! Next year I will apply and interview for residency programs.

Did you pursue internships/co-ops, research experiences, volunteer, or join student organizations while you attended Purdue?

Down time didn’t really exist for me in undergrad and I’m truly glad I took advantage of all that Purdue had to offer. I was on the Purdue Golduster Dance Team (part of the AAMB!), I served as a tour guide/ambassador for the office of admissions and shared our great university with hundreds of visiting students and parents, I worked for University Residences in the URSC, I was a mentor in College Mentors for Kids, I volunteered as a Big Sister through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Lafayette (my Little Sister and I are still matched!), danced in Higher Ground Dance Company, completed Doula (birth coach) training via a Learning Beyond the Classroom Grant and even studied abroad (twice!). I did a lot of really cool things through Purdue and they made my time there some of the best years of my life. I think that what stood out most though was my commitment to the organizations I chose to join. I didn’t get involved in things and just do them for a semester, I went all in for multiple semesters and even joined their leadership boards when the opportunity presented itself. I mentioned I am still matched with my Little Sister- even now that I live in Indianapolis, I travel to West Lafayette at least once a month to visit her. She has changed my life. I found that when I whole heartedly committed to organizations I got so much out of it. You’ll hear that in regards to extracurricular activities, it’s about quality not quantity, and I completely agree! Find something you love and go all in.

Are there any special accomplishments you've achieved after college that you might not have been able to do without your college experiences?

I did a sort of crazy thing during my first year of medical school… I applied to become a 500 Festival Princess! I found out in February of my OMS(Osteopathic Medical Student)-1 year that I had been chosen as one of the thirty-three 2018 Princesses. I was honored and a little bit terrified. There had been other graduate or professional school Princesses in the past and in my class, but I believe I was the first Princess who was also currently in medical school. It seemed like a wild idea but it ended up being one of my favorite experiences I have ever had! I believe that my involvement in various organizations, working a job, and the rigorous coursework I had during my time at Purdue prepared me well to balance med school with the hours of service work and other awesome commitments being a 500 Festival Princess entailed. I also know I would not have been chosen as a 500 Festival Princess if it weren’t for all of the experiences I had at Purdue which provided me with so many opportunities to become a well-rounded candidate.

What advice would you give to prospective or current Purdue students about how to make the best use of what Purdue offers?

I found that when I whole heartedly committed to organizations I got so much out of it. You’ll hear that in regards to extracurricular activities, it’s about quality not quantity, and I completely agree! Find something you love and GO ALL IN. Also, please take advantage of the funding Purdue has to offer. You can always get financial assistance to help you study abroad, there are tons of scholarships as well (like the Gilman Scholarship which I had the honor of receiving to fund my study abroad junior year) and I received an LBC grant in order to go through Doula training (which was SO COOL!). You just have to apply! Be on the lookout for opportunities for funding that may allow you to learn or try something new and GROW.

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