Student follows an inspired path
By Adela Talbot
October 04, 2012
Grace Nasri is intent on paving an independent path outside the physician footsteps of her parents – even if the end goal remains the same.
The fourth-year Scholar’s Electives student, enrolled in a joint Medical Sciences and Psychology degree, said she was encouraged seeing her parents, both general practitioners, dedicate their lives to helping others. The family, originally from Turkey, has travelled the world; her father still works in medical clinics in the Middle East.
“Seeing them in the physician field, they’ve inspired me to follow the same path. But I wanted to experiment for myself whether that was something I viewed myself in. I started volunteering in hospitals, in clinics, to get a broader experience, to open my eyes and see if this is something I want to do for the rest of my life,” said the 19-year-old.
Pursuing an interest from high school, Nasri kicked off her time at Western by working in a stem cell research lab at the Robarts Research Institute, as part of her Scholar’s Electives project. In addition to her volunteer work, she signed up with Western’s Alternative Spring Break, working in medical clinics in Nicaragua.
And that’s not all.
“In first-year, I took psychology and decided why not experience some lab work to get a broader picture of what psychology is about. So I decided to volunteer at the University of Toronto with a professor who had a cognitive project going on,” Nasri added. “I’m still working on that and it’s really opened my eyes to the clinical aspects of psychology.
“Instead of just studying it in a textbook, it gave me a broader picture of how statistical analyses are done, how to talk to patients with cognitive impairment and things like that.”
While going to medical school is a priority, pursuing a career in psychology is a close second. “It’s always good to have Plans B and C,” Nasri said.
Still now, in fourth-year, she’s sure medicine is the right path.
“Volunteering at the clinics in Nicaragua and Iraq really opened my eyes to seeing myself in that field. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else. And now I’m interested in global health,” she said.
Through her volunteer experiences abroad, she has made connections with physicians and has seen unnecessary limitations in the kind of care they are able to provide.
She continued, “I’ve been able to get different insights and perspectives, and the (examples) from our health care, I think could benefit other nations I hope to travel in the future and to incorporate some of our (approaches) in nations that may not have the same sense of development.”
Nasri is grateful for the Scholar’s Electives program in all this because it has given her the space and freedom to pursue her interests and academic goals. What’s more, she’s grown personally and has met some great people along the way.
“The program really opens you up to public speaking, to talking to professors, to learning about what they do. It’s opened my eyes to other academically minded people. It’s been a great experience.”
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