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Aug 03, 2021 Student Life Session Three

Meet Michaela: Medicine + Musicals

Michaela sits for a brief interview to discuss her Concentration, her activities outside of EXPLO, and applying the knowledge she's gained this summer in the future.

Will Walawender

Michaela sits for a brief interview to discuss her Medical Rotations Concentration. She shares her excitement for learning about various fields of medicine, volunteering, and what's waiting for her outside EXPLO. 

Let's begin with your name, pronouns, Concentration, and if you could travel to any point in time, when and where would you go?

Okay. My name is Michaela. My pronouns are she/her/hers. I’m in Medical Rotations. And this is ridiculous, but if I could go to any point in time, I’ve always been curious about The Last Colony of Roanoke, so I would want to find out. It’s super random...I'm obsessed with math and science, but I want to know what happened there because it's a total mystery. That's what I wrote about to get accepted into my high school. I wrote all about how I have no idea what happened.

What kinds of things are you doing in Medical Rotations?

We’re learning about the different fields of medicine to help us decide if we want to become doctors and, if so, what field we might go into. For example, we've done sheep heart and lung dissections to see a little bit of what it might be like to be a cardiovascular surgeon or a pulmonary doctor.

We've done radiology too. Bioethics was cool, because it's not something I get to read about often. I think that was kind of new to all of us. We get to learn about all aspects of being a doctor. And one of the most important things they taught us is how when you're a doctor, you're treating a person, not a disease. 

Is there anything in those rotations that appeal to you that you'd like to pursue further?

It would be cool to be on a bioethics board at a hospital. I've also always enjoyed oncology. We learned about different kinds of Radiology and how to find cancers and different types of diseases. All of that was cool.

What are you doing for your final project?

We’re doing what's called differential diagnosis. We were given a case and the results of some basic tests. Then we have to come up with a list of possibilities of diseases or issues that it may or may not be. We then have to narrow down those possibilities to the most probable, given all the test results. 

Can you describe the case you’re doing? 

It was our first chance to read it today, so our biggest guess right now is COPD. He's 58 years old. He's been smoking since he was 17, though he tried to quit when he was 48. He cut his smoking down to half a pack a day. His family has an extensive history of heart failure, too. 

What are you doing with your peers outside of class?

We spend a lot of time watching the guys play Gaga ball. They get super into it and it’s really funny. We enjoy studying together and doing our homework. It's nice getting to know all sorts of new people. We hang out on the quad a lot. 

What trips were you on this weekend?

I went to Reed beach on Saturday and whitewater rafting on Sunday. The beach was windy, but I was with my good friend Cindy, who I actually met here, and we had so much fun together. It didn't matter how cold it was. We were able to walk around in a new place and get really good ice cream, and just hang out together. 

Then whitewater rafting was really fun. It felt like being on a roller coaster, and who doesn't love roller coasters? You have to be with a really good group of people for it to be fun, otherwise, you'll just be wet and miserable. The great thing about being here at EXPLO is that everyone's awesome. You’re automatically stuck with a good group. 

Can you tell me a little bit about your life outside of EXPLO?

I do a lot of community service when I’m not here. I'm the president of my chapter in NCL, the class of 2023. I'm also in musical theater, and I play guitar and I write a lot of my own songs. And I play volleyball at a club level.

What brought you to EXPLO this summer?

This is actually my third year returning to EXPLO. I've been coming here since I was young enough to go to Wheaton. A flyer for this summer showed up in the mail, and I've been interested in medicine my whole life. The first year I applied, I was super nervous I wouldn’t get in. Once I was there, though, I made friends that I still keep in touch with to this day. I always knew I wanted to come back at every chance I could. It's such a great community here.

I would love to come back next summer, too. I would just need to free up two weeks. It’s the summer before my senior year, so my mom's trying to plan all this fun stuff to do. I'm trying to find time to come back one more time, but I also plan on returning as a staff member when I'm in college.

What are you looking forward to after your time here?

I’m getting my driver's license the day after the session ends. It will be nice to drive and see all my friends. I'm excited to go back to school. I'm taking human anatomy and physiology, so I'll get to apply some of my knowledge from this summer into that class. I'm also excited to go back to California weather. 

Will Walawender