When Mali Royer ’06 needed a respite from her junior year studies, the premedical student volunteered with Habitat for Humanity in Myrtle Beach during spring break.
“It was an awesome experience,” she recalls. “School is mentally hard work, so it was nice to physically work and see the results of your labor. The community that forms when people work together toward a physical goal is also really powerful.”
That experience motivated her to spend a year after college working with Habitat International’s Global Village program, while applying to medical schools. In Chile, she was one of 16 volunteers working on second-story additions to homes in the town of Casa Blanca. After medical school, Mali, a member of the Class of 2012 at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, hopes to enhance healthcare in developing countries by working for an international agency such as Doctors Without Borders.
A double major in biology and drama, Mali migrated to the premedical program halfway through her academic studies, and completed two senior thesis projects—a research project for biology and a dramatic show. “If you want to do two crazy things at the same time, it can happen at Washington College,” Mali says, giving lots of credit to her professors who encouraged her to pursue both disciplines.
“Let me just say that Dr. Verville is the best person in the world. She’s amazing. The drama faculty, especially Dale Daigle, were really helpful too, knowing the demands I had as a premed student. To me, that’s the joy of going to a small college.”
Mali says she also benefited from collaboration with her fellow students, particularly during organic chemistry study sessions. “At some schools, premedical students can be very competitive. At Washington College, we’re in it together.”
Mali relished her year between college and medical school. “I’ve been places and seen things I never thought I would,” she says. “I’d highly recommend it.”