Although she was drawn to Baylor for its challenging and thorough pre-med program, Gunda decided to major in history. "I wanted a broad, extensive education," she explains, "and have always had an interest in history." Dr. Eric Rust, one of Gunda's professors during her freshman year, inspired her: "He is an awesome lecturer and captivated the attention of the entire class with his talks." Mrs. Rachel Moore also significantly influenced Gunda during her first year of studies. In a Freshman Year Seminar, a course in the Honors program, Gunda remembers great novels, small group discussions, class dinners, and attending theatrical and musical performances together. Moore's course created a learning community for Gunda, one that she remembers fondly. "It was so exciting," she recalls, "Mrs. Moore taught us self-expressive writing, something I did not get to do in high school."
Gunda is working on her Honors thesis under the guidance of Rust. Combining her interests in history and medicine, she is examining outbreaks of cholera in 19th century India. Gunda is interested in analyzing the response of the British authorities to this public health crisis during imperialism. Epidemics of cholera were most prevalent between 1850 and 1914; Gunda's research will scrutinize both Britain's domestic and expatriate response during these years. As she begins a semester of research and writing, Gunda observes, "I am very lucky to have Dr. Rust as my mentor." She views her thesis as a natural corollary to her future. While she envisions herself in family practice, she feels strongly pulled toward international health care promotion. She possesses the "desire to serve and treat all kinds of people"-particularly those in third-world countries. In fact, she is considering a master's program in public health as well as medical school. As long as she remembers wanting to be a doctor, Gunda has also been committed to working with people without ready access to medical care. This commitment to others, in fact, is fundamental to her vision of her professional life.
At Baylor, she explains, "I have been around people who are passionate about what they do, who are hardworking, and who care for the disadvantaged." Gunda has flourished in this environment. For her, Baylor is "the professor-student relationship" and a "close knit community" where, she notes, "so many of my professors know me so well" and encourage her success.