Tiffany Campbell (Class of 2018)

  • honors senior double major in Psychology and Biology
  • co-majors in Neuroscience and Premedical Studies
  • from Logan, OH
  • CAS Dean's Scholar and research assistant in Dr. Jennifer Quinn's behavioral neuroscience lab
  • undergraduate teaching assistant in the Broadening Undergraduate Research Perspectives in Behavioral Neuroscience Program
  • joined the Nicaragua Medical Immersion program as part of a Spanish-language medical brigade (January 2016)
  • interned at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to study cerebrovascular disorders (Summer 2017)
"If you're a freshman and don't yet know what you want to do, that's fine — you have time. The exploration aspect of the first couple years of your college career is very important, and I didn't really realize that during my freshman year. However, it's super easy to get involved in research and other opportunities. All you have to do is reach out to professors — they're always willing to meet with you."

Why Miami?

"On my first visit to Miami's beautiful campus, I could really imagine myself coming here. I visited again in the fall for Math and Science Day, where I was drawn in by how all the science professors were open and willing to talk to even high school students about their classes and research. I then came back yet again in the spring for Make It Miami and met with the Honors Student Advisory Board, which was really interesting to me to see their strong student interaction. Once I learned about the research opportunities I'd have, I was really sold and applied for Early Decision.

Tiffany Campbell poses next to her poster at Miami's 2017 Undergraduate Research Forum.

"I'd wanted to be biochemistry and pre-med all through high school, but my first year at Miami was a bit crazy as I got involved in a lot of things. I took my first biology class at the Honors level but freaked out because I was thinking it wasn't for me. So I switched my major from biochemistry to psychology, keeping some of the science classes, but I think I really just needed an adjustment period to consider where I was going. I went back and forth with pre-med, even briefly considering becoming a business major, but finally I ended up full circle, choosing biology and psychology for my majors.

"From day one I was really interested in doing research, so I emailed associate professor of psychology Jennifer Quinn telling her I'd taken advanced psychology courses at an Ohio University branch campus before Miami. I asked her for permission to join her lab, and she told me that although her lab was already full she'd see what she could do. I got in, and she's been mentoring me all the way through, from career aspirations, to work in the lab, to personal advice. Dr. Quinn also played a big role in my decision to add my neuroscience co-major.

"I also received a lot of help early on from professor of biology David Pennock, who is also director of the Mallory-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education. He taught both my honors cell biology class during my junior year and my Contemporary Issues in Medicine (BIO 400) course as my biology capstone last semester. I've learned so much from him. He also serves as my advisor for my Honors project."

Best Miami Experiences

"My neuroscience research at Miami has been huge. I received a CAS Dean's Scholar Award to do research as an assistant in Dr. Quinn's lab, where we've been working on memory reconsolidation in animal models. This year, we switched our focus a bit and are working on early life stress and its effects later in life. In Dr. Quinn's lab, I've learned so many techniques: rat craniotomy surgery, behavioral training, and much more. Dr. Quinn has allowed me a lot of independence in the lab, and I have learned so much!

Tiffany Campbell (second from right) and other participants in the Nicaragua Medical Immersion program (2016)

"I've also had a medical Spanish immersion experience in Nicaragua during the winter of 2016 with a group led by senior lecturer of Spanish Nohelia Rojas-Miesse from the Department of Spanish & Portuguese. As part of a free basic medical clinic, we worked with local doctors, provided simple medical care, and taught children how to brush their teeth. It was really cool to experience some of the Nicaraguan culture, practice Spanish, and help the local people — the trip combined everything.

"Most recently, I did a 10-week summer internship through the Mallory-Wilson Center for Healthcare Education to do neurosurgery research and shadowing at Cincinnati Children's Hospital. I shadowed a neurosurgeon, Dr. Sudhakar Vadivelu, over the entire summer and worked on clinical research projects with him. This has been one of my favorite college experiences, and I'm actually still working there once a week, developing some manuscripts for publication, and I delivered a conference talk in DC in October!"

Miami and the Liberal Arts

"Not only are professors at Miami really good teachers, but they're also very open with mentorship and advising. Sometimes I'll have a repeat professor, giving me a better chance to get to know them. I've found it's often really helpful to go to office hours to clarify course material and get to know professors on a more personal level.

"I feel very well prepared from my classes, which have been extremely detailed. I'm studying for the MCAT entry exam for medical school right now, and I'm amazed at how much I recall just from my classes. I'd like to go into academic medicine, doing teaching and research, in addition to practicing clinical medicine, so I feel like my early exposure from my classes will be incredibly beneficial. Learning the intricacies of science in my classes and as an undergraduate research assistant, as well as my clinical experiences at Cincinnati Children's, have helped me narrow down my answer to the 'why medicine?' question. Entering college, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in medicine, but my experiences during the past 4 years have truly shown me why medicine is the right career for me.

"Being a doctor is not all about science, however, which is where a liberal arts education comes in. You have to be a well-rounded person, being able to relate to other people and developing your emotional intelligence. This is simply not done in science classrooms.

"Many of my non-science classes turned out to be among my favorites — such as my Introduction to the Study of Religion (REL 101) class with lecturer of comparative religion John-Charles Duffy, which outlined the impact of religions on American imperialism and culture. As a freshman I also took an Honors course, Medicine, Disease, and Culture (AMS 180) with associate professor of history and global & intercultural studies Kimberly Hamlin. It focused on how culture affects medicine, such as the effects of traditional paternalistic medical practices on breast cancer treatment. I also took PSY 210 - Psychology Across Cultures, with associate professor of psychology Vaishali Raval. It was really interesting to see how different cultures process psychological issues in diverse ways and the course helped me develop my emotional intelligence and cultural sensitivity, which are very important in medicine!"

Research Parallels between Memory Reconsolidation and Cerebrovascular Disorders

Watch Tiffany discuss her research experiences as an assistant in Dr. Jennifer Quinn's behavioral neuroscience lab, as well as her Mallory-Wilson Center internship examining cerebral cavernoma at Cincinnati Children's Hospital.

Why Medicine? Video Transcript

Advice to Students

"If you're a freshman and don't yet know what you want to do, that's fine — you have time. The exploration aspect of the first couple years of your college career is very important, and I didn't really realize that during my freshman year. However, it's super easy to get involved in research and other opportunities. All you have to do is reach out to professors — they're always willing to meet with you.

"In college, everything is not laid out for you like it is in high school, so you do have to go out and find things. This is how I got involved in my research and preceptorship experiences. Dig around for what you want, and if there is something that you want to do, find someone who does something similar, particularly a professor, and ask them. Just go on the Miami website, find a list of faculty members in a field that interests you, see what they're doing, and email them. From my experience, they're extremely nice and happy to help!"

[November 2017]