Major/MinorBiology, Pschology, Premed
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Class of 2006
Heather Whiting ‘06, a member of the Class of 2012 at medical school at Johns Hopkins University, is convinced her Washington College education prepared her well for a career in medicine.
A biology and psychology major with a concentration in behavioral neuroscience at WC, Heather hopes to go into pediatrics after medical school.
“I have a clerkship at a pediatric office once a week as part of my curriculum, and it’s been very rewarding for me to work with kids,” she said.
Heather has worked in various research and laboratory positions at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, a hospital for children with developmental or physical disabilities.
In the summer after her junior year in college, Heather was a student lab assistant in the neuroscience lab. She found out about the opportunity through her fiancé, Brandon Metcalf ‘06, who was working in a different lab at the time.
“He was getting to use the things he was learning in his undergraduate classes in a lab setting,” said Heather, who wanted a similar experience.
After graduation, Heather worked full-time as a lab tech at Kennedy Krieger; she was part of a team researching ways to prevent brain injuries in babies whose oxygen supply is cut off during delivery.
More recently, she worked there as a clinical research assistant in the International Center for Spinal Cord Injury, examining ways to prevent osteoporosis in patients with spinal cord injury.
Heather felt well prepared for the rigors of medical school after Washington College.
“I think the behavioral neuroscience concentration in psychology has helped a lot because it shows how science-based teachings can be applied clinically,” she said. “I had my neuroscience and neurology block last year and I felt more confident than some of the other students in my class who didn’t have that background.”
The small class sizes and personal attention helped her succeed in upper level science courses.
“They provide a great opportunity to really get to know your professors and the course material, and they make it so much easier to ask questions and get extra help if you need it,” she said.
Though she appreciates having a strong academic base to build upon in graduate school, Heather also values the experiences she had and lessons she learned outside the classroom.
“I was a resident assistant, which taught me how to lead by example and be assertive without being overbearing,” she said.
Heather honed her interpersonal skills as a peer tutor and a member of Best Buddies.
“Every person you meet is going to be different, and you have to be able to approach them each differently in order to give them the best help that you can offer,” she said.
Being involved in various activities on campus, rather than only focusing on her academic workload, was important to Heather.
“If you plan to go to medical school, so much of your time is consumed by it. You need to get involved and develop other interests and hobbies and take classes outside of your major to have a well-balanced and happy life,” she said.