STEP Project Reflection

This past summer I worked with Dr. Alexa Meara studying patient numeracy and its effects on the severity of systematic lupus erythematosus.  I spent a lot of time shadowing Dr. Meara and learning about patient physician communication.  I also assisted with analyzing and writing the manuscript for the paper to be published on our findings.


I learned quite a lot about my own personal interests during this project.  I gained a new understanding of the complexities of clinical research as well as its applications.  Being introduced to a new type of research changed how I viewed the research process and introduced me to different complications that can occur.  I was also transformed in my view of the medical profession.  I was exposed to a field that focused a lot on how the patient feels rather than finding a perfect cure.  A lot of the diseases Dr. Meara worked with are chronic diseases so a lot of the treatment plans revolved around minimizing pain and maximizing patient comfort.  I was able to see a different side of medicine that was not incredibly intense, but still very important.  Seeing this area of medical field helped me to realize that I would like to go into a field similar to rheumatology such as allergy and immunology or dermatology.


Through my clinical research experience, I learned that research is a very extensive process.  Not only is data collection on human patients subject to biases, but it is difficult to get a large trial pool.  Furthermore, this type of research requires a lot of different forms of approval which take a long time.  While the study results were interesting, I found the process involved a lot more waiting for approval and for data to come in rather than actual collection and analysis.  I had previously done research in a wet lab which involved a lot more hands on work and results that were easier to replicate and control.  Clinical research seemed a lot less direct and took a long time so in the moment it was not as rewarding as the wet lab.  However, I was able to see very clearly the direct applications of clinical research.  Wet lab research was a bit more abstract in its applications but clinical research offered clear cut solutions and improvements.


A valuable experience that I did have with clinical research was helping to write the manuscripts for our papers and reading medical literature when diagnosing the patients.  I was able to become familiar with how medical literature was written and then how often it is used daily in medicine. I worked to edit Dr. Meara’s papers and in the process, I became familiar with the language used in medical research.  This made it much easier to understand medical literature when we were using it in patient diagnosis. I also learned a lot about data analysis by working with the manuscripts and seeing how qualitative survey answers can be statistically analyzed.  I also enjoyed the subject matter that we were studying. In addition to learning about lupus and other related diseases, I was able to see in practice and in the study how important patient education is for effective treatment.


I did not enjoy the research process as much as I expected, but I really learned a lot from my shadowing experience.  I learned a lot about patient care in a clinical setting and how diseases are diagnosed based on various biological tests and external examinations.  Shadowing Dr. Meara helped me to realize that I am very interested in the medical field especially in areas surrounding autoimmune diseases.  I was able to visit patients with Dr. Meara which allowed me to observe patient physician communication.  She was able to be professional and clear while still making sure the patient felt comfortable.  I also enjoyed learning about the patients before and during their appointments.  Through this process, I was able to observe how doctors come to their conclusions about the diagnosis of the disease and possible treatment options.  I enjoyed putting together the various symptoms, existing conditions, and test results in order to figure out what the disease was.


Everything that I learned and experienced this summer has been very important for my own professional development.  I discovered a field of medicine that I find interesting and I can see myself practicing. The shadowing experience was key in showing me the type of physician I would like to be someday in terms of my ability to communicate and develop strong relationships with my patients.  This also spurred me to take a greater interest in the field of immunology (closely related to rheumatology).  After observing rheumatology, I realized that this or a nearby field would be a good option for me professionally.

Year in Review

Honors GOALS

  1. Global Awareness

My intended coursework and my previous coursework has helped me to develop my Global Awareness.  Studies of African American Literature, Roman Classics, Spanish, and the History of HIV/AIDS have focused on understanding cultures that are different from my own.  I intend to continue studying other cultures through literature as part of my English major.  Additionally, I am on the rowing team where I daily interact with students from many other countries.  Out of the eight rowers in my boat, six are international students from five different countries.  Working with them and getting to know them and the other international students on the team has allowed me to better understand the differences between our cultures as well as the similarities.  I would like to further develop my global awareness by engaging in a medical mission trip or study abroad service trip in the summer of my junior year.

  1. Original Inquiry

I have always been very interested in the field of immunology in medicine.  This past summer, I worked at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in the department of allergy and immunology investigating the creation of mucus cells in epithelial lung cells following post-viral asthma.  This initial foray into the realm of research has motivated me to undertake further research in immunology.  This upcoming summer, I will be working with Dr. Alexa Meara at the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center on several of her projects connected to rheumatoid arthritis, vasculitis, and lupus.  Through this research, I will also be specifically looking at the importance of patient-physician communication in medicine.  I hope to continue research in immunology either by further work with Dr. Meara or by undertaking my own individual research in the future.

  1. Academic Enrichment

I have a very unorthodox realm of academic interests.  As indicated on my contract, I am an English major on the pre-medicine track.  The diversity in my academic interests is demonstrated by my dedication to both the humanities and the sciences.  My studies in English literature serve to help me understand human nature throughout history and between cultures as I study literature from different places and time periods.  English is also a subject for which I have always cherished a strong passion.  I also think that a strong background in the humanities will help me to be a better physician in the future.  I will be able to communicate effectively with patients and coworkers to ensure that I can administer the best care possible.  My pre-medicine pathway is also accompanied by a biology major with many of the courses revolving around human anatomy, human physiology, and biochemistry which will definitely be useful for a career in medicine.  My academic pathway allows me to follow both my passion for English and medicine while still challenging myself by taking several additional upper division level classes and honors classes.

  1. Leadership Development

I am a member of the Ohio State Women’s Varsity Rowing Team.  Being a Division 1 athlete requires a large amount of time management and organizational skills.  Specifically on the rowing team, we have a very disciplined schedule and a strong team culture focused on a good work ethic and team work.  With two daily practices, weekend training, training trips over breaks, and races all over the country in the spring, I have become very good at managing my time so that I can be a dedicated teammate and continue to excel in the classroom.  Furthermore, I hold a unique position on the team as the first varsity 8 coxswain.  A coxswain is in charge of steering the shell safely, motivating the rowers, and leading them to success both during practices and on race day.  I am responsible for my rowers, my boat, and making sure that we have the best races and practices possible.  Being the coxswain of the top boat also requires me to be an excellent coxswain and a leader for all of my teammates.  I help other coxswains to develop their skills and I work with all of my teammates throughout the year to help them improve.  Despite being one of the smallest members of the team, my role is first and foremost to be a strong leader.  Rowing has taught me the importance of being an organized, disciplined, and dedicated leader.  I have become a strong leader on my team early in my career and because of the culture on my team, I have learned to lead people to a level of excellence that was once beyond their imaginations.  This has been the most impactful experience of my collegiate career and I intend to continue rowing and growing as a leader.

  1. Service Engagement

I volunteer weekly at the James Cancer Hospital as part of the Restful Nights program.  We visit patient rooms and provide donated goods such as books, magazines, knit hats, word searches and other puzzles, and other items to help make the patient more comfortable during their stay at the James.  We are able to interact with patients and their families and bring them a small bit of joy during a difficult time.  I have found this experience to be very uplifting because I feel like I am able to brighten up the patient’s day by a short visit.  I also participate in the 2nd&7 program through the Athletic Department.  We read to 2nd graders at elementary schools in the Columbus area weekly to teach them the importance of healthy living, education, and hard work.  I have enjoyed interacting with these kids because I am able to give them some tools for a successful life.  Especially when we attend underprivileged schools, I feel as if I am able to make a difference in the futures of some of the students.  I am planning on continuing with the 2nd&7 program as well as volunteering at the James in order to positively imp


Global Awareness

I plan on pursuing the Global Awareness area of the G.O.A.L.S. through study abroad experiences, service trips, and taking several classes about different cultures.  I hope to take an opportunity in my junior or senior year to study abroad in a country where I can experience the different cultural and social environment.  I also hope to gain knowledge about the history and current issues in the country in which I study.  Additionally, I am interested in engaging in service trips overseas during academic breaks.  These trips will allow me to experience life in a different nation as well as help others around the world and make a global impact.  Finally, I will choose classes that explore the literature and histories of nations outside of the U.S. as part of my major in the hopes that I can learn about the international human experience.

Original Inquiry

I am planning to engage in research over the next few summers.  Because I am hoping to enter the medical field, I will be considering areas of research that are related closely to medicine and human biology.  I have a particular interest in immunology and molecular genetics so I am hoping to engage in research with professionals on campus or at nearby medical centers such as Nationwide Children’s Hospital.  Not only will this research help me prepare for medical school, but it will also allow me to gain knowledge about areas about which I am passionate and to contribute to increasing global knowledge about these areas.

Academic Enrichment

I am pursuing a major in English as well as following the pre-medicine track.  I chose this combination because I love the subject of English literature and I want to become a doctor.  I find that this combination allows me to study humans in a scientific realm as well as in a cultural and historical area.  By choosing this course load, I am gaining a challenging and well-rounded education in the humanities and sciences. I am taking many classes outside of my major because of my additional interest in biological study.  I am excited to take these classes because I find the new discoveries in these fields incredible and I am also excited to take courses related to my career field.  I am also taking a few classics courses because I have always loved learning about ancient Greece and Rome as well as their mythology.


Leadership Development

One main way that I am developing my leadership abilities is through being a member of the OSU Women’s Rowing team.  This team is the best rowing team in the nation and as a member, I have learned the value of discipline, hard work, time management, and teamwork.  I am a coxswain on the team so I am responsible for steering the boats, motivating the rowers, and assisting coaches in drills, recording times, and critiquing technique.  This position is very important for the team and it has given me confidence in my leadership skills.  I hope to continue rowing as long as I can so that I can grow as an athlete and a team leader for this elite group of student athletes.  I have learned to love the sport and it is a great way to be involved with the university outside of academics.

Service Engagement

I am planning to become a volunteer at a nearby hospital so that I can begin to help people who are sick.  This will give me experience in a hospital environment which is important for future study of medicine, but it will also allow me to serve those who need medical care.  As mentioned previously, I also want to go on service trips outside of the Columbus area or even overseas.  I think that service in areas outside of my local community is important because it gives me experience with other cultures and social situations.  I will be able to help those less fortunate or in difficult situations and impact the world around me in a concrete way.


[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.

Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]


[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.   For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


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About Me

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