Natalie Brusie '16
Area(s) of Study
Double Major in Mathematics and Biology
University of Minnesota
What made you choose Lake Forest College? - I must have looked at 20 colleges before I picked Lake Forest College. Each college felt the exact same to me, and I remember telling my mother that I was indifferent about them all. When I visited Lake Forest College I realized that was where I needed to be. The pre-health program was robust and designed to cater to each students' career goals. I was assigned an advisor who helped me explore my passions through the four years I spent there, and find a way to turn my passions into a career path. There was such great infrastructure to support my career goals and a great network of alumni to help you learn about career paths and provide potential internship work experiences.
How did a liberal arts education make a difference for you? - When I started college I wasn't entirely sure what I wanted to do outside of "something in healthcare", and I wasn't sure what I was good at either. The liberal arts education is valuable because it pushes you out of your comfort zone just enough to encourage you to try a little bit of everything. As it turns out, after working for a while I realized I want to transition to the administrative side of healthcare; I would have never made that leap if I hadn't had the experience at LFC of taking a few economics and finance courses. Because I had that exposure and knew I liked the mathematical nature of the material, I was confident in applying to and pursuing my Masters in Healthcare Administration.
What experiences outside of the classroom do you think helped prepare you for your current position? - I really loved Speed Networking when I was at LFC. This experience forces you to get comfortable advertising yourself and meeting new people, and can result in job offers or even just connections down the road. It also introduces you to different job titles in your field that you may have never known existed. I learned about so many different roles I could pursue post-graduation as a result of both Speed Networking events I attended. I ended up getting my first job out of college through a connection I met at Speed Networking, and he helped ignite my passion for Clinical Research. This set me down a path that has been so rewarding and fulfilling to me.
What skills and experiences at Lake Forest do you believe will help you be successful? I was challenged intellectually and emotionally at LFC which helped me grow as a person. I was encouraged to never stop growing, and never stop moving towards my goals. The mentor-mentee relationship with a faculty member in your major was essential to my personal success, as I was always pushed to think outside the box and to maximize my potential. I felt cared for and looked out for by my mentor, and I knew I could always count on them to provide honest and realistic feedback to me regarding my performance in school. If I was performing less than my potential, or if my course load for a semester was going to be too light, I would be encouraged to rethink my choices and really try and challenge myself. I feel like this relationship helped me really capitalize on my time at LFC and provided me with an inner drive to always continue growing.
What advice would you give a high school student looking to pursue pre-health and is considering Lake Forest College? The best advice I could give to a student considering LFC and hoping to pursue pre-health is to make sure the school you end up at has a variety of options for you within Healthcare. You may think going into college that you want to be a physician (most of us do, to be frank), but as you gain experience you may find that it doesn't fulfill you the way you'd hoped it would. You may find you aren't as much of a people-person as you originally thought and do not want to be working with patients every day, or you may find that you actually love being in a lab setting doing cell biology and research. You may be like me and find another passion (for me, Math) that you never thought you'd pursue as a career but now realize that you want to include as you start searching possible career options. If you have access to a variety of resources to expose you to the multifaceted nature of Healthcare, you will be able to reassess and adjust your path as you discover new passions or eliminate things you thought were going to be passions of yours. Your career is going to be a long game of repeatedly planning every detail of your path, and then hitting a bump in the road and throwing it all out to start over. Being able to adjust as you learn is an essential feature of success both before and after graduating. Schools like LFC and programs like this one allow you to readjust quickly and stay ever exploring the options for your future.