Brown’s Interest in Medicine Grows Stronger
By: Justin Lafleur, Lehigh Sports Communications
Lehigh field hockey junior Abbie Brown has always liked science and math, which has developed into an interest in medicine.
That led to a valuable opportunity this summer at St. Luke’s University Health Network, just a stone’s throw away from campus.
While in its PreMed Observer Program, Brown shadowed physicians of five different specialties: Emergency Medicine, Internal Medicine, General Surgery, Pediatrics and Orthopedics.
“The program requires a minimum of 60 shadowing hours, but I was able to shadow for over 70 hours,” she said. “It was great to use my summer time wisely to get this shadowing experience before my busy fall semester when I am in my field hockey season.”
Midway through her time at Lehigh, this program was the perfect fit for Brown.
“It allowed me to ask questions and learn more about medicine than I would be able to by searching online or in my classes,” she said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made opportunities like this more race, while also more valuable.
“This program allowed me to learn not only more about the path to become a physician and the responsibilities of a physician, but also about the many crucial roles in medicine,” said Brown. “Interacting with medical students and residents allowed me to gain valuable knowledge and advice that I can use these next couple years as I begin the medical school application process.”
Brown admitted she also learned a lot about the entire process of applying to medical school and what a potential route in medicine would entail, such as residency.
The summer allowed Brown to learn through interaction rather than simply reading about it online.
One reason Brown was, and continues to be drawn to medicine, is helping others and making a difference in their lives.
“Being involved in competitive athletics from a young age and now being a collegiate athlete, the human body and its capabilities have always piqued my interest,” she said. “Also, coming from a large family with three sisters, I have always loved being surrounded by people. My sisters have taught me compassion from a young age, so being in healthcare would allow me to use these aspects of my personality as well as my excitement to meet and work with new people.
“This summer showed me that I want to do something in medicine even more.”
Helping others is a common theme in Brown’s life. No surprise, as she is a member of the Lehigh Athletics COACH program – Community Outreach by Athletes who Care About Helping.
“Also, being a leader on my teams in high school and being on the Leadership Council here [with Lehigh field hockey]I like being able to bring people under my wing, making them feel comfortable and teaching people,” she said. “Having leadership skills and being personable is something needed in medicine, so I hope I am able to use these aspects of myself in the field one day.”
Brown is certainly on the path to doing just that.
It’s increasingly common for Lehigh students and student-athletes to take a route in the field of medicine. Brown’s former Drew Pecora is one example, as she is applying to medical school. With the new Health College at Lehigh, the number of people going that route should only increase.
With Lehigh Valley Health Network and St. Luke’s within a short ride from campus, it only adds to the potential opportunities for Lehigh University aspiring medical professionals.
“It’s been super convenient,” said Brown. “Having it close to campus, I was able to live in my off-campus house and could use the facilities at Goodman, such as our field hockey field. I was also able to use our gym to lift and work with our trainer, Dom , which was awesome too.”
What’s next for Brown?
“After my season, hopefully being able to volunteer more at St. Luke’s or get more shadowing experience,” she said. “I will continue to do more research and narrow down [areas of interest]. Next spring, I will start preparing for my MCAT, the exam for medical school.”
No matter where Brown’s future takes her, this summer will always play a key role in taking her down that path. She is extremely appreciative for everyone that made her experience worthwhile.
“Everyone [at St. Luke’s] was so eager to teach me, bring me in and take me under their wing,” said Brown.
“I want to do the same thing for future students when I’m hopefully in their shoes one day.”