"For me, it was when I took a tour and saw this building. That's when I knew I was coming to Baylor." Colby, winner of the Cornelia M. Smith Award for Biology, will be starting medical school this fall. "At all schools, you have to fulfill the same pre-med requirements – but I think Baylor really did a lot
more to prepare me than other places would. "I was a little
worried, as a Biology major, that everything would be ‘Plants! Plants! Plants!' – and although that is an option for people who want to go that route, I was able to take classes that specifically prepared me for where I want to go. I feel like the Biology department is really diverse." Though it wasn't her real passion, Colby took advantage of an opportunity to perform outside-the-classroom research with Dr. Marcie Moenke that may help determine the effectiveness of the highly-touted açaí berry at removing toxins from the human body. Though she found that
she was "not a lab rat by any means," the experience was eye-opening.
As Service Chair for Baylor's chapter of the American Medical Students Association, Colby played a large part in creating those crucial extracurricular opportunities for herself and others. "I organize a lot of volunteering at Hillcrest and Providence," Waco's two hospitals. "We worked at the Meyer Clinic, which is a free service run by Mission Waco, and at Talitha Koum," a therapeutic nursery for at-risk children. These sorts of experiences help Baylor students get a taste of the medical working world (and, of course, greatly boost their medical school applications).
Although she has done much volunteer work in Waco, Colby's heart lies abroad. Having done medical missions work in Malawi and South America, she decided to organize a similar trip to Guatemala through AMSA. "We were able to take twenty-two students, along with a pediatrician, a physician's assistant, a gastroenterologist, and a dentist. We set up a free clinic in a local village and spent four solid days seeing patients." Taking part in medical missions is a great way to get experiences that might not be available in the US: "In Guatemala, I was essentially the triage nurse. I had to get patient histories from each person and decide who needed our help the most," – a stressful job, to be sure. But Colby felt prepared to assume that responsibility by her experience and her excellent language skills. "The Spanish program here is excellent. I couldn't have done any of that without serious training. I was even able to take a Medical Spanish course before I went that helped immensely."
Colby hopes to make medical missions her life after medical school. "As a doctor, I'd like eventually to be able to spend part of every year in third-world countries, helping people in any way I can."