Meredith Beck (Class of 2011)

  • Meredith Beck photosenior Zoology major
  • from Kokomo, IN
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars (President)
  • student lab assistant in neuroendocrinology research lab

Miami's size allowed me to explore my diverse interests. The school is large enough to offer everything you can imagine, and small enough that you are not excluded from anything.

"Unlike many pre-med students, I did not know coming to college that I wanted to go into medicine. I knew I wanted to study biology, so I came in as a Zoology major with a passion for people and I kept medicine in the back of my mind. I honestly did not know if I was capable of completing the rigorous coursework. During my first two years, I challenged myself and found, through my experiences at Miami, that my personality and passions fit the field of medicine.

Meredith Beck with Ugandan children photo"It was not until the summer after my sophomore year that I set my dreams completely on medicine. I went on a two and a half week trip to a small village in eastern Uganda, near Mbale. I volunteered at a small primary care facility in the village and observed medicine being practiced in the local hospitals. I was amazed by the culture and people, but in disbelief that the quality of care was so different.

"While education plays a large role, it was disheartening to see a four-year-old brought in very sick. His test results showed stage four malaria. By this point, the parasites were attacking his red blood cells and he needed a blood transfusion. His grandmother would have to carry him miles to the nearest health center that was capable of helping him. Due to the circumstances of this child's birth, he had less of a chance of life than I have, and, for me, this was impossible to settle morally. I began to form my own opinions about public health and became passionate about the necessity for good healthcare to be offered universally as a human right.

"The next summer I worked as a hospital intern in rural Indiana. My aspirations were further cemented through my experiences there. I learned how much of a difference can be made through medicine in rural parts of our country also.

"Through all of my self-exploration and defining moments, Miami was my steady place of growth. I was able to grow immensely academically and to be around different ideas that helped me to shape my personal beliefs and views on issues large and small. Miami's size allowed me to explore my diverse interests. The school is large enough to offer everything you can imagine, and small enough that you are not excluded from anything."

  • Meredith Beck working on ceramics photoCeramics was something that I never wanted to give up after high school. Even as a busy pre-med student, I was able to fit ceramics into my coursework as a thematic sequence (series of three classes in a specific area of study), and my skills in the art have grown incredibly. This is an outlet that I intend on keeping for the rest of my life.
  • I also went on a Miami study abroad trip to Costa Rica where I studied the country's biodiversity and environmental issues in an in-depth and up-close manner.
  • I played club water polo and traveled to tournaments all over the Midwest.
  • I was a part of a research lab and I helped make a presentation at the Society for Neuroscience international convention in San Diego.

The Mallory-Wilson Center

"Most of Miami is what you make it. You have the ability to personalize your interests, but the pre-medical track has requirements that are important to understand and follow as well. For people who do not have family members or close friends who have gone through the process of applying to medical school and doing all of the things necessary to gain acceptance, this process can be very daunting. For me, the Mallory-Wilson Center was my guiding light. The advisors are very straightforward and realistic with you. It is tough road, but without the guidance I was given, it would have been much harder. The advisors walk you through the process of what you need to do each year and break the application process down so that you understand the important parts for each step."

[November 2010]