A Transformative Time: Video Transcript

Kathleen Tschantz Unroe (BA Latin Language and Literature, Miami, 1999) [nursing home geriatrician and Assistant Research Professor of Medicine at Indiana University]: I am dedicated to taking care of nursing home patients, both one-on-one as a physician, but also developing programs and policies that can provide better care for this population. I'd like to do that at my university through research, but also I'd like to be involved in state and federal policymaking surrounding nursing home issues.

I was told that one could major in anything and go to medical school, and I took that and I ran with it. I loved majoring in Latin Language and Literature and really found a home in the Classics Department, which was a great home base while I was doing all of the pre-med coursework and the sciences. It provided a nice balance to my education.

Through my liberal arts coursework and especially in some of the classes where I had smaller groups, we did a lot of critical thinking and analysis skills, a lot of writing as well, and those have been really important to me as I've developed as a physician-scientist. They were skills that I think I had more of an opportunity to hone, because I took so many different classes, especially in liberal arts while I was here at Miami, and I wasn't just focused on the basic sciences.

A liberal arts education really afforded me the opportunity to look at a variety of different issues and think critically about them, analyze them, think about people's different perspectives on issues. And even though these topics were different than my job now, those skills are applicable, and I think that could be true for many people in many different professions.

The most important resources for me as a student at Miami were my professors. I was so fortunate to have mentorship while I was here, especially in gerontology. Our gerontology department here at Miami is nationally renowned, which I have come to appreciate even more since I have graduated. And I had a strong focus in geriatrics and geriatric medicine, but that had always been a unique thing. And when I came here and I met professors who were very passionate about aging and working with older adults who really affirmed and validated my interests and passions, it made all the difference for me and helping me to keep my focus on my longer-term goals, despite any struggles or challenges of going through the process of getting into medical school.

I think undergraduate time is, it can really be a transformative time as you're trying to figure out what you want to do, what your next steps are. And professors are such a great resource in terms of being able to help you think through and talk about different career paths, different ideas, and also to put you in touch with alumni. I am always happy to talk to any trainee or anyone who's thinking of going down a road that may be similar to my own, especially who's contemplating anything in the health science field, but starting from this type of background because I have enjoyed every step along the way and I am enormously happy with my personal and professional life right now. And grateful for the foundation that I got here at Miami.

[April 2014]