"Although I planned on continuing my Spanish education beyond high school through a Spanish minor, I never anticipated that I would end up with a major in Spanish and an honors thesis. I entered my undergrad fairly certain that I wanted to go to medical school, but had no real direction outside of that and my plan to get a Spanish minor. This uncertainty led me to try out a variety of different classes to see what I wanted to study. I took the recommended premed classes along with a smattering of other classes to fill my distribution my freshman year.

One of the classes that I decided to take in my second semester was SPANISH 373 with my current advisor Professor Ryan Szpiech. It fit perfectly with my schedule and also was about a topic I had never even spent a single lesson learning about across my education thus far: medieval religious relations. I remember feeling really unsure about taking a class that was such a departure from my typical academic interests, but the risk more than paid off. I ended up enjoying the class so much that I took two more classes with Professor Szpiech throughout my time here. I found myself continually coming back to my Spanish classes as the one place where I knew I would enjoy my classes.

By the time I reached the end of my junior year, my minor in Spanish had become a major and I decided that I wanted to continue learning about Spanish history through a thesis. With the help of my advisor, Professor Szpiech, I found a way to tie my passion for Spanish to my goal of working in medicine. I decided on my topic of the disappearance of female hysteria from medieval Iberian medical discourse after a lot of time spent reading through medical literature.

Shortly after deciding on the broad strokes of what I hoped to study, I studied abroad in Spain, where I was able to see in person all of what I had learned throughout my studies up to that point. My experience abroad helped me to gain a level of comfort in the Spanish language, particularly in my speaking and writing, that I hadn't realized I was capable of having in my second language. I returned for my senior year feeling confident in my Spanish skills and ready to write and research for a thesis.

My senior year was mostly reserved for taking the remaining few classes I needed to graduate and my thesis. Writing it was one of the most challenging academic tasks I have ever done, but the months of poring over old medical manuscripts and popular literature from the fifteenth century proved fruitful. I will graduate having developed an ability to research and organize my thoughts in Spanish in a way that I never would have thought possible. Furthermore, I will graduate with a newfound passion for history and its intersection with medicine that will stick with me for the foreseeable future.

After I graduate, I plan on spending the next year applying to medical school (and hopefully getting into some). I hope to continue to integrate what I’ve learned not just about speaking and writing in Spanish, but also my passion for the humanities, into my career when practicing medicine."