Read about this month’s International Studies Student Spotlight. Students were asked to share an influential experience they had that connected to their International Studies major or minor.
Victoria Marie Lucas
BS International Studies (Global Environment and Health); BS Biomolecular Science ‘19
Hometown: Southfield, MI
Affiliations: UM Health Science Scholars Program, Learning Community–EPC President 2015-16, Peer Advisor 2016-17, HSSP SLC Tutor; The Black Undergraduate Medical Association–Rising Scholars program, Mentor; March of Dimes–“Run for Babies” Committee Chair; Detroit Association of University of Michigan Women–Scholar Representative; Beaumont Hospital Volunteer Services-summer, Emergency Department Volunteer; Cranbrook High school, Horizon’s Upward Bound–summer, Activity Leader and Residential Advisor
“An experience that has influenced my academic career, before coming to the University of Michigan, was living abroad in England. England, as with many countries in the UK, has a population in which individuals vastly differ by nationality and means of self-expression. These are qualities that I’ve always cherished, especially as an African- American woman. Yet, until our relocation, I had never considered one attribute that significantly accounted for the level of engagement I had with most Europeans–my accent. In most cases, before opening my mouth, I was seen as a 'standard’ community member. However, after emitting just a few words that were accompanied by the American twang, Europeans became more engaged with me during our interactions. What was it about my accent that made what I had to say more considerable? Constant interactions like these made me realize that languages and accents are more than just 'different means of communication'. In fact, they’re critical, social constructions that impact many factors of our livelihood, such as access to professional healthcare and opportunities that can ultimately determine someone’s life expectancy.
As I completed my fifth semester at the University of Michigan studying the Spanish language and culture, I felt encouraged to continue having the humanities and foreign languages compliment my pre-med studies. Thus, I decided to declare one of my majors in International Studies, with a focus on Global Environment and Health. This past semester, I was excited to announce that I would be implementing my interdisciplinary studies this summer as an intern for the Providence Hospital Biomedical Exposure program. The experience has really helped to deepen my understanding of the ethical regulations that must be considered when conducting health research in more rural communities and understanding how diversifying treatment plans for specific diseases makes them accessible to more demographics of patient populations.”
Future plans: “I’ve approached the halfway mark for my undergraduate career, here at the University of Michigan. Since entering, my appreciation for healthcare has grown significantly and I’ve seen how the obstacles within healthcare intersect with so many aspects of our lives, at their own convenience. I have faith that my future career as a physician will not be limited to understanding health from solely a US clinical setting, but one that will be filled with travelling to international, urban and rural communities to gain a better understanding for what medical challenges those patients are dealing with, which are undoubtedly of US concern and proactive intervention."