Honors College Ambassador and peer mentor Jorie Casey is a fourth-year student majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is also a lab research assistant and a member of Sigma Delta Omega. She received the Honors College Experiential Scholarship and was able to volunteer on a medical brigade to Nicaragua. This trip was an experience of a lifetime that solidified her passion for medicine. Below is Jorie’s reflection on her experience and how the Honors Experience Scholarship assisted her in being able to take part in this opportunity.
My passion and interests have always been in the field of medicine. I came to Oregon State University knowing I wanted to pursue medical school after my undergraduate studies and was always on the lookout for potential opportunities. During my first-year, I focused on my studies and explored areas of research on campus. In my second-year, I decided to branch out, and I began to engage with organizations I found to align with my interests.
One opportunity in particular was volunteering on a medical brigade to Nicaragua. I was extremely excited to help establish sustainable health initiatives to local communities with limited to no access to health care. The only obstacle in my way was the cost of the brigade. Although I worked each week and saved up as much money as I could for the brigade, I was still short several hundred dollars. I became increasingly worried as weeks passed that I would not be able to participate in the brigade.
I was talking to one of my friends about the dilemma, and they introduced me to the Honors College scholarship page. They specifically highlighted the Honors Experience Scholarship that helps support a student’s ability to seek and participate in learning experiences outside of college classes. I was fortunate to receive a scholarship offer and therefore was able to volunteer on the brigade.
During the brigade, I was exposed to a variety of amazing opportunities including completing a public health project, volunteering in a medical clinic setting and working on a water brigade to provide access to clean water for a local community. I met so many incredible people who I remain in touch with to this day. Through the brigade, I was able to immerse myself in the Nicaraguan culture, shadow local physicians and learn more about the field of medicine.
After my medical brigade experience, I looked into other medical volunteer opportunities both on and off campus. Over this past summer, I shadowed several different physicians and volunteered in a local hospital while studying for the MCAT. Shadowing and volunteering over the summer was extremely beneficial. I was able to observe the ins and outs of working in a medical setting.
The medical trip to Nicaragua solidified my desire to pursue medicine, and without the Honors College Experience Scholarship, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in a life-changing and eye-opening experience. The Honors College is home to many rewarding opportunities and experiences. I challenge all students to learn more and get involved!