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Sarah Marshall

Sarah Marshall

Medical Student

Cincinnati College of Medicine

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"It is always scary leaving a place where you feel comfortable and safe and where you have built up a network of friends and colleagues. I have always been on the shy side and the thought of moving to a new city where I didn’t know anybody was exciting but also stressful. It didn’t take too long into orientation for me to figure out that pretty much everybody feels that way though. The best thing you can do is to get involved! Whether it’s starting a new job or moving on to some kind of graduate school, making time to get to know the people you are going to be working with is important. You don’t have to make a whole new set of best friends the first day though – keeping in contact with the people who were important to you before you graduated makes the transition a lot easier."

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

I graduated in the spring of 2017. My major was general biology and I minored in Spanish and chemistry.

What was your most compelling class and why?

It is really challenging to pick just one class as the most compelling because there were so many excellent professors that made learning their topics so engaging, particularly in the Biology and Chemistry departments. Within my major, my favorite class was probably my Introduction to Molecular Biology taught by Dr. Konieczny. His lectures were so interesting, and we had two debate days during the course where we talked about some of the more controversial topics in biology. While I loved the biology core curriculum, this course was the first one that pushed my understanding of biology to a new level of practical application of the topics we were learning, rather than the standard “memorization of facts” that people sometimes associate with biology classes. Outside of my major, I took an Introduction to Modern Fiction class my freshman year. As a science major this class was a little outside my comfort zone, but as someone who has always loved to read, it was mostly just a lot of fun. The entire course was structured around reading, discussing, and writing about “modern” books (like The House of the Seven Gables, The Awakening, The Good Earth, etc.). I think I enjoyed it so much because it was so different from the other classes I was taking at the time!

What are you currently working on?

I’ve just began my rotations which means I have finished the classroom and book learning part of medical school, and I’m now working in the hospitals as a member of the patient care teams. It is a total change from the first two years of medical school, but it is exciting getting to finally see patients and work with other members of the healthcare system!

What drove you to pursue your current career path?

I’ve wanted to be a doctor for as long as I can remember. There isn’t a single event that lead me to being interested in medicine. I’ve known that I want to work with kids since I was in high school. Medicine seemed like a good fit because I have always really enjoyed my science and anatomy classes.

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

I was involved in a research lab all four years while at Purdue. Being involved in research as an undergraduate definitely helped me when I was applying for summer research opportunities last year. I already felt comfortable with a lot of basic lab techniques, reading scientific papers, and giving poster presentations. 

I was a part of a few different clubs when I was at Purdue. My favorite was Higher Ground Dance Company. I have always loved to dance and when I was applying to medical schools (or really when you apply for any job) it is nice to have a club or hobby that is outside of the field you’re applying to. Dance does not really have anything to do with medicine, but I was able to connect with some of my interviewers over a shared passion.

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

Last summer I was picked for a research internship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center (CCHMC). Purdue has such strong research opportunities available to students, and I definitely feel like my past experience with research gave me an advantage in the application process.

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