Lauren Nichols had to choose. As a little girl, she set her sights on two career pathways—working as a famous actress or as a not-so-famous doctor. She considered both options, from that point on, all the way through her undergraduate work where she studied both biology and theater at St. Olaf College.
“Even since middle school, there were different things that drew me to medicine, including the documentaries I watched and volunteering at the hospital,” Nichols said. “And then going into undergrad, I still did some theater stuff here and there, which was good to get both sides of it, but ultimately, I decided to pursue medicine.”
A water flea is best known for its role in the aquatic ecosystem for eating algae and cleaning ponds and lakes. But for Michelle Grafelman, a fourth-year medical student, this one-eyed species is affectionately remembered for infecting her with the “research bug” that solidified her decision to pursue medicine.
The University of Minnesota Medical School, home to academic medicine, soon became Grafelman’s top pick—a school she knew would feed her desire to study human science.
Casey Smith traded off a lot when he chose the University of Minnesota Medical School. He left behind mountains for skyscrapers, desert for snow—and most difficult—family for education.
A member of the Navajo Nation, Smith—who is One Who Walks Around Clan (Honágháanii) born for Black Streaked Wood People Clan (Tsi’naajínii)—used his childhood dream of serving his reservation just outside of Gallup, New Mexico, as the motivation to make the move to Minnesota.
His interests in primary care and rural health led him to Duluth, Minnesota, where he began his medical education.