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Meet Polymathic Scholar Mia Ramirez

Meet Polymathic Scholar Mia Ramirez

Dean's Scholars, Health Science Scholars and Polymathic Scholars represent some of the most well-rounded and plain interesting students at the University of Texas. We asked three of them – seniors Mia Ramirez of Polymathic, Wyatt Reeves of Dean's, and Milan Stokes of HSS – to look back on their undergraduate years and tell us how they have changed during their time here.

Mia Ramirez

Where are you from?

I'm from Wylie, Texas. I went to Wylie High School.

Why did you apply to UT-Austin? What other schools did you consider?

I decided to apply after I toured campus as a junior in high school. What struck me as being so different from every other school I had toured was that UT felt alive. I vividly remember walking through West Mall, seeing all of the tablers, and thinking to myself, "everyone here has something that they're passionate about." I also appreciated the fact that UT is centered in the capital of Texas; UT is a place where change originates and influences other areas, and I think that's amazing. I also applied to Texas Tech, A&M, and Baylor.

How did you hear about Polymathic Scholars, and why did you apply?

I learned about the Polymathic Scholars Honors program after filling out the standard ApplyTexas college application. After researching a bit about each CNS Honors program, it became clear to me that an interdisciplinary education would suit me best. Even though I loved science throughout high school, I was also passionate about band, the humanities, and other non-science related things. I wanted to ensure that I could continue to further my education in a plethora of other areas.

What did you decide to major in? How have your original academic plans developed?

When I started school at UT, my major was undeclared. It took me a whole year to decide to major in neuroscience. When I originally applied to UT, I didn't even consider neuroscience as a major. However, the more I thought about it, the more I realized how fascinating it is that the brain controls so many aspects of our daily lives. My original academic plans have significantly changed from the beginning of my time at UT mostly because I initially didn't have a plan. I think it's pretty common to feel unsure of the future as a freshman in college. I haven't changed my major since deciding to major in neuroscience.

What field of study did you design in Polymathic, and why?

My Polymathic field centers around narrative medicine. Narrative medicine can take many forms, but it is often thought of as self-reflective writing that prompts writers to critically think about their reaction to and involvement in various medical events. In some cases, narrative medicine can be used to build trusting relationships between physicians and patients. In addition to being beneficial for physicians, it can also be helpful for patients who experience chronic or life-altering illnesses. I decided to focus on narrative medicine because I have always loved to write. As a child, I wrote silly poems for my grandma, who encouraged me to continue expressing my thoughts on paper. As a young adult, writing has become a private reprieve through which I can reflect on my experiences and feelings. Learning about the theory behind therapeutic uses of writing fascinates me.

What are you researching for your Honors thesis? Describe your project.

My Honors thesis seeks to find an optimal way to incorporate narrative medicine into the design of electronic health records (EHR). Electronic health records help physicians to accurately document patient information and share it with the patient's provider network. However, due to the rigid design of many EHR systems, physicians often report that the EHR does not capture the full scope of a patient's medical story. Healthcare does not exist in a vacuum; illness is often affected by social, economic, or other factors, and it is important for those factors to be considered in order for physicians and patients to work together. Furthermore, many physicians often clamor for more humanity in medicine. Engaging with patients as individuals instead of as medical cases can bring more enjoyment and satisfaction in a line of work that can often be very draining. It is for these reasons that I hope to propose an EHR design that incorporates narrative medicine techniques and functions better for physicians.

What do you plan to do after UT? Describe your professional goals. Have you begun interviewing, and if so, where?

My plan is to attend medical school. I am applying in the upcoming application cycle. Since I am currently a senior, I plan to take a gap year between undergrad and medical school. I hope to work for a year and save up money to support myself.

What have you most appreciated about Polymathic Scholars?

There are many awesome things about the Polymathic Scholars Honors program, but I have mostly appreciated the people that I have met. The Polymathic program contains some of the most interesting, experienced, thoughtful and overall wonderful people I have ever met. I have met people in this program who I look up to and who I know I can always ask for advice.

How have you changed since your first year at UT?

Since starting college, I have become more independent, more confident in my choices, and more comfortable with who I am. I have found a passion for education through joining organizations like Students Expanding Austin Literacy. I have grown as a leader while serving as an officer for an organization called Keep Austin Wizard. My understanding of others' viewpoints and experiences increases every day, and I hope it continues to do so. In my first year at UT, I was shocked by the amount of hard work that other people put into their studies and interests. Because of my time at UT, I have a deeper understanding of the kind of work ethic it takes to achieve a goal, academic or otherwise. I also have a better appreciation for the great things I can accomplish when I put my mind to it.

What were you most surprised by in your time here?

I was most surprised by the amount of diversity that UT hosts. Coming from a small suburb northeast of Dallas, I was surprised to see how much the world has to offer. I greatly appreciate the chance to understand new opinions, meet new people, and try new things.

CNS Honors Today
Meet Dean’s Scholar Wyatt Reeves


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Saturday, 04 February 2023

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