First of all, welcome to my little corner of the internet! I love blogging and interacting with my followers, so please submit any questions/comments here. Also connect with me on Twitter at @MDPhDToBe and on Facebook!
Without further ado, let me introduce myself:
Hanna Erickson, at your service.
(Hope you get the Hobbit reference)
In 2013, I began working toward a PhD in Molecular and Integrative Physiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the same time, I began working on my first year of medical school as part of our unique Medical Scholars Program as I aspire to become a physician-scientist in oncology. I am interested in studying cancer to identify novel therapeutic targets and will be focusing my PhD on hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer). While the path ahead of me is long and challenging, I couldn’t imagine myself doing something that would better allow me to pursue so many of my interests!
Before I came to Illinois, I was a chemistry major at the University of Minnesota and hail from a suburb of the Twin Cities. While I did research and volunteered at a hospital like so many pre-med students do, the best decision I made as an undergraduate was to be part of the University of Minnesota Marching Band (the second best decision was to do the MD/PhD route, which I didn’t even know existed until the spring of my junior year – just months before I applied!) I believe that the happiest of people are enthusiastic about all parts of their lives – not just work or school – and this organization surely let me live up to that belief as the ambitious and passionate person that I am today. While I have put away the clarinet for now, I remain musical by playing piano and teaching myself guitar in my elusive free time.
Additionally, I am an avid writer as you can see from this blog as well as my writing on The Almost Doctor’s Channel and DocCheck. I also put my writing skills to work to help out pre-med students as an advisor for Lean On Admissions, a med student-run pre-med advising service. I came into the MD/PhD application process rather lost, so I have a particular interest in providing information to help aspiring medical students and/or graduate students be successful!
Furthermore, stemming from my role as a leader in marching band and its corresponding sorority, I have grown to love teaching. When I stand in front of a classroom, I feel like I’m on the field again but instead of getting 50,000+ fans pumped up for a football game, I’m trying to get a much smaller group of students pumped up about science. I absolutely love getting to connect with students and helping them understand difficult subjects.
Finally, I also have a particular interest in medicine on a larger scale and believe that everyone can make a greater impact by being involved in advocacy work. My first experience came in spring 2014 when I visited Capitol Hill with The American College of Physicians to speak with Congressional offices about pressing health care issues, and I can’t wait to do more!