Rose León Alvarado is a rising junior originally from Honduras who is majoring in Neuroscience and minoring in Public Health and Chemistry. Once at Earlham, she signed up for typical pre-med classes and joined various organizations through the Center for Global Health (CGH), which broadened her understanding of the health field. However, she had not decided whether medicine was the right choice.
Rose was placed at the Neighborhood Health Center (NHC) her first semester participating in the Health Externship Program. She worked on translating health education materials and developing cultural competency training modules. She decided to join the CGH’s new Spanish Medical Interpreting Program to continue her involvement with the NHC throughout the summer.
“That did it for me, that summer did it for me… seeing the impact that we made and the work that we did and that its necessary to have representation in medicine,” Leon Alvarado said, affirming that she was now committed to a career in medicine. “Seeing how important it was to have an interpreter… and from my own experience coming to the U.S. and not being able to explain my symptoms to their full depth because I don’t know the vocab,” helped lay the groundwork for her decision. This experience, in combination with her love for scientific inquiry, has led León Alvarado to seek a minor in Public Health and an MD-PhD in Neuroscience after graduating from Earlham.
“It’s not only ‘oh yeah, the pre-med students are shadowing,’ the pre-med students are actually learning to do something other than what can be directly related to medicine,” said Rose referring to her experience with the Health Externship program. As an example, last semester, while working on the NHC newsletter, she “got to play around more with PowerPoint, and people might not think it was a big deal, but knowing how to transmit information in a short and pleasant way is hard… had it not been for the Health Externship, I would have never done that. I also found this skill to be very useful when I was working on a poster this summer [for her research program].”
Rose encourages others not to fear reaching out to people, “there is a lot of networking that can be done within the Earlham campus by just talking to peers and hearing about things that are happening,” she said. For her, “…going to the CoLab and the people from the Center for Global Health has been really useful. Just talking to them, and not even regarding career, just like, you know? It feels like a second family sort of situation. I really liked that because it feels like I have somebody to go to at Earlham.”