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Mary Melati: 'Being pre-med in the College of Arts & Sciences means that my education emphasizes well-roundedness and critical thinking'

Tue, 05/01/2018

Mary Melati

Biological Sciences

Jakarta, Indonesia

What is your main extracurricular activity — why is it important to you?

I have been a part of Alternative Breaks since freshman year, leading two service-learning trips over spring break and serving as secretary. Alternative Breaks has enhanced my personal growth through emphasis on professional conduct, accountability and leadership. This organization also developed in me a commitment to lifelong social action and social awareness, which I carry out in all my service activities. When I volunteer, I now think critically about the root causes underlying the social injustices that I see. With a mindset focused on reciprocity, reflection, and strong, direct, meaningful service, I have been able to effectively engage with many communities and learn so much about the world and about myself.

What accomplishments/activities are you most proud of while at Cornell?

Last year I fused my interests in public service and medicine by applying for and receiving a Public Service Grant to do an outreach project for the Ithaca Free Clinic. From working in the clinic, I realized there was little outreach being done due to a turn of administration and a general low trust in social service agencies by underserved populations. I used the grant money to buy customized beanie hats, gloves, and socks with the Ithaca Free Clinic’s address on it and to print copies of an English-Spanish information sheet about the services offered in Ithaca Free Clinic. I distributed these materials personally throughout the semester with the Ithaca Rescue Mission. This was the beginning of my health advocacy journey and I realized that I want to further promote health equity in the future.

What do you value about your liberal arts education?

Being pre-med in the College of Arts & Sciences means that my education emphasizes well-roundedness and critical thinking. I study biology through a humanistic liberal arts perspective that is accented by my minors in infectious disease biology and Asian American studies. Moving forward, I will constantly be asking questions not just about the human body and medicine, but also about the environment, psychology, history, language and society. I have a thirst for knowledge and I want to learn from everyone and from everything.

What are your plans for next year; where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I will be starting medical school in August. Ten years from now I want to have a family and to be a primary care physician. I want to direct a free clinic that does a lot of educational outreach, translational research and advocacy. I also want to serve on the city council or school board so I can push for initiatives that care for marginalized community members.

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