Third-year College of Medicine student Natasha Kesav grew up with many mentors in medicine. While she always imagined herself as having a career in the field, something she now appreciates about her training as a NEOMED student is how well-rounded she feels as a future medical professional.
“NEOMED does a phenomenal job of ensuring that College of Medicine students get a combination of humanities, bioethics and reflective practice—as well as evidence-based medicine (EBM),’’ says Kesav. She adds that she has felt very supported in her passion for research, because NEOMED ensures that all students get substantial EBM education and practice with evaluating literature to best impact patient care.
“I’m of the firm belief that every physician should have the skillset necessary in order to critically evaluate and maybe even conduct their own research. Whether you’re a physician in a large academic institution or a physician in rural Northeast Ohio, every physician should be objectively tracking their patient care, how well they’re delivering patient care and any new medical management therapies or pharmaceuticals that could impact your patients,’’ says Kesav.
She’ll take the 2018-19 academic year off from studying medicine to participate in the selective Medical Research Scholars Program (MRSP) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. Working among some of the nation’s leading scientists, Kesav hopes to engage in transformational biomedical research in order to impact the medical community from both the bench and the bedside.
Giving and receiving mentorship
“The circle of mentorship at NEOMED is something that really fostered my interest in research and really helped my application for the MRSP program,’’ says Kesav. Her NEOMED classmates gave her helpful tips on interviewing and how to present herself in an academic setting. Talking to NEOMED graduate Julie (Yajie) An (’18), who was an MRSP Scholar for 2016-2017, as well as to Paula Rote, who took a year off between her third and fourth year in the College of Medicine to work at the NIH during the 2017-18 year, “opened my eyes to the opportunities the NIH could provide me,’’ says Kesav.
Because Kesav become interested in research through middle school science fairs, she now mentors many students at the middle school and high school level with their science projects and posters. She also serves as a judge and a volunteer at state and local science fairs.
With classmate Abigail Chauvin (Class of 2020), Kesav co-founded and co-directed a student organization called Scientista. The mission resonated with her as she set out to encourage other women in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. She’s paying it forward to honor the support that she feels fortunate to have had along the way.