In pursuit of medicine

Student uses life experience for motivation

In pursuit of medicine

By Matt Markey

A series of major moves early in life could cause a young child to withdraw and maybe not reach their potential. It also could have a detrimental impact on their development as a student. Or in the case of Neisha Medina, those transitions could serve as a platform for advancement, maturation and maximizing your potential. In her life, the miles traveled have created a motivated, committed and highly-focused student in pursuit of a career as a doctor.

A junior majoring in biology and pre-med at BGSU, Medina was born in Puerto Rico and spent the first three-and-a-half years of her life there before her family moved to Connecticut. Once in the U.S., Medina’s family relocated often, so she was at a new school every couple of years. About a decade ago, the family moved to northeast Ohio.

“It probably can be a negative thing for a lot of people, but for me all of the moving definitely made me stronger,” Medina said. “When my family came to the U.S., we started at the very bottom, so each time we moved after that, it was a sign of moving up, improving our lives. I saw firsthand how hard work paid off.”

Medina said that as she watched her parents devote themselves to giving their family a better life, she learned a great deal about making the most of your opportunities.

“They were my role models and they always encouraged me to do what I was passionate about,” Medina said. “And as we moved around I knew I couldn’t control the moving, but my education was something that was very important to me, and it was something I could control. I think that set me apart and drove me to be a better student.”

Medina has become much, much more than a good student. At Steele High School in Amherst, Ohio, she graduated with honors in the top 4 percent of her class and received the Presidential Award for academic excellence.

At BGSU, Medina is part of the Honors College and Honors Learning Community, a member of the National Biological Honor Society (Tri-Beta), the American Medical Student Association (AMSA) chapter, and Medicine, Education, and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere (Medlife). She has received the Academic Investment in Math and Science (AIMS) Scholarship and is currently conducting research under the direction of Dr. Raymond Larsen, biological sciences. 

Medina has also worked as a volunteer at a health center while in high school, tutored middle school students, served as an ambassador for the campus AIMS program (Academic Investment in Mathematics and Science) as a member of the BGSU TRIO program, and participated in the Office of Admissions student recruitment team.

“I’ve had the opportunity to work with a wide range of people in a number of exciting programs and I think I was pretty well prepared for that by the moving around we did while I was growing up. I’ve never been a stranger to different people, or different perspectives.”

Medina said her BGSU professors and advisers have been extremely helpful as she works to balance her challenging academic load with her involvement in additional activities on campus. 

“They’ve always been there to offer advice and provide direction,” she said. “And being in the Honors College has helped me tremendously. The professors encourage critical thinking and a very hands-on approach that I feel is very important for the medical field. We are taught to brainstorm, to find out what things mean, and to look at a variety of different perspectives.”

Medina said that a regular part of her education process at the University is extensive discussion and the continual search for more efficient and practical ways to learn things, other than just listening to a lecture.

“I definitely feel that I am getting a great foundation for a career in the medical field,” she said. “I love the atmosphere here and I am so grateful for the numerous scholarships I received that have made this all possible. If it weren’t for them, I don’t know what I would do, and I’m not sure any of this wonderful education would be possible.”

Medina, who hopes to become a pediatrician, said she is not intimidated by the many years of study on the horizon as she pursues her medical degree. She is confident her love of learning, and her passion for helping others, will provide more than enough motivation.

“I’ve been drawn to medicine because it is something very practical you can do to help other people, and it is present in everyone’s life,” she said. “I love kids and for a long time, I’ve known I want to do something with kids, so I can truly see this is what I want to do. Really, I can’t see myself doing anything else.”