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Health Sciences

Our graduates enter a wide variety of health related fields: medicine, nursing, dentistry, medical research, and public health. In its most recent reformulation of the MCAT, the Association of American Medical Colleges has added a new section on Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. "And the new Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills section reflects the fact that medical schools want well-rounded applicants from a variety of backgrounds" (from aamc.org). In addition, medical schools are beginning to offer courses in "Narrative Medicine." These moves confirm what we've known for a long time--that the training one receives as an English major will manifest itself in unexpected places.

Nichols"I think my choosing to couple a BSC English degree with my pursuit of medicine was one of my wisest choices."

Nona Nichols, Class of 2013
Medical Student
University of Alabama School of Medicine

Throughout my undergraduate career and even now, answering the question, "Oh, so what are you majoring in?" has always been a bit of an eyebrow-raiser considering my ambition to become a doctor. Even after getting accepted into UASOM, people seem a little confused. However, I think my choosing to couple a BSC English degree with my pursuit of medicine was one of my wisest choices.

Courses I took at BSC and the discussions I had with professors and peers, both in and out of class, have really helped me when trying to understand humanity as a whole and how to better relate to people—as well as remembering that there is always another side to every story. Dr. Sprayberry's Native American Literature and Dr. Archer's Contemporary International Fiction classes both challenged me to think from viewpoints I hadn't previously considered as well as to try and understand cultures far different from my own. This push to understand others, particularly those from different backgrounds, is fundamental to practicing medicine and working with those who are disenfranchised in today's society.

Theory classes, like Dr. Ashe's Postmodernism and Dr. Klein's Performance Theory, challenged me to more deeply consider the world as a whole around me and have been fundamental in helping me to be a conceptual, concerned thinker by challenging me to consider and analyze deeper implications for all matters in today's world, particularly the all-important and ever-debated ethical considerations, which are so important in medicine.

Dr. Hagen's Chaucer, Dr. Tatter's Satire, and McInturff's Shakespeare courses revealed to me how little human nature has changed, despite the hundreds of years between writing we studied and present day. In doing so, the courses revealed inherent truths about our society and the world we live in today.

Most invaluably BSC's English department gave me space to think about things—to contemplate things deeper than simply memorizing a list of facts—and this opportunity has given me a much greater appreciation and greater consideration for all people and matters of the world around me. At UASOM, I am pursing a dual degree—a Master's of Public Health along with my medical degree. My desire to pursue this additional degree (MPH) has stemmed partially from my experiences in the English department through which I realized that I not only wanted to practice medicine but also wanted to help shape the practice of medicine. Ultimately, I feel as though this more humanities-centered approach will help me to be an excellent doctor for my patients, and I feel extremely indebted to BSC's English department for helping me to grow.

Saman KhaledSaman Khaled, Class of 2003
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Harvard Medical School

During her time as a graduate student at UAB's Department of Pathology, Saman participated in NASA's highly competitive Space Radiation Summer School Program. Subsequent to this experience, she helped develop tools for measuring the effects of cosmic radiation on the arteries of astronauts.

I graduated from BSC with a major in English literature and went on to get my PhD in Molecular and Cellular Pathology at UAB. I'm now a Postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital in Radiation Oncology. My research is focused on creating more personalized radio- and chemotherapeutic options for patients by developing new assays. In my spare time I'm the technical consultant on a teen web series called Swivet Zone.

The common thread in my scientific career has been developing techniques to provide a dynamic picture of cellular life: the kinetics and the way cells interact with their environment. I love working in a team and problem solving the minutia of science as well as stepping away from it all to discuss the big picture.