Open Book . . . Lindsay Abcunas, SOM ’12
On Wednesdays, the Daily Voice introduces you to a student or resident at UMass Medical School. We’ve asked our subjects to answer a few questions that reveal a little of their personalities. If you know someone who you’d like to see profiled, let us know at email@example.com.
Lindsay Abcunas, SOM ’12, from Revere, received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University. She is a member of Blackstone House. Why did you choose UMass Medical School?
Lindsay Abcunas, SOM ’12, from Revere, received her undergraduate degree from Cornell University. She is a member of Blackstone House.
I chose UMass Medical School because, being a state-funded institution, it has a commitment to serve the commonwealth. Community service was always very important to me and I wanted to go to a school that would nurture and actively encourage it. Other than that, UMass had ample research and educational opportunities at an unbeatable value.
Describe yourself in six words or fewer.
Hard-working, compassionate, terrible sense of humor.
If you were stranded on a deserted island, name three things you would want.
1. Survival skills (I need them—I’m a city girl after all!)
2. Pictures of my family
3. A camera
If you could have dinner with a famous person, living or dead, who would that be and why?
Paul Farmer. The way he selflessly fights to end poverty is awe-inspiring to me. I would love to sit with him to hear about his experiences and hope to absorb some of his resolve to actively change things that are perceived as unchangeable.
What person or experience made you decide to pursue a medical degree and why?
I wanted a career that would combine my passion for science, teaching and community service. Reading about Paul Farmer and his selfless pursuit of eradicating poverty and taking care of individuals showed me the power of a medical degree. It motivated me to pursue medicine since I would be able to seamlessly function in all of those domains that are important to me.
What is the most interesting or challenging job (paid or unpaid) you’ve ever had and what did you learn about yourself?
In college, I worked in a basic science laboratory and while it was very interesting and rewarding work, I struggled with it because it was so lonesome. I knew at that moment that science alone would never be enough for me . . . that I needed regular contact with people.
What would your fellow students be surprised to learn about you?
I graduated from Cornell a semester early and before hearing back from UMass, I enrolled in a dual MPH-Peace Corps program. I moved to Boston to attend Boston University with intentions of completing an MPH and going to Africa with the Peace Corps for two years. I learned of my acceptance to UMass in an email after getting off my shift at the Cheesecake Factory. And the rest is history!
If UMass Medical School had not been an option, what would you be doing right now?
Right now I would be in Africa with the Peace Corps since I was enrolled in a dual MPH-Peace Corps program prior to learning of my acceptance to UMass.
If you could change the world as a physician, what would you like to do?
Being idealistic: I would campaign so that all people had basic medical care as a right. Being realistic: I want to teach future physicians in an engaging way that highlights the dignity of all patients so that they will go on to teach their students in the same way.
Most surprising thing you’ve found out about graduate school?
How incredibly happy I am despite my never-ending to-do list. It is so rewarding to finally be able to focus on the subject that excites me the most. Knowing why I’m learning each piece of information and seeing it applied in a real way during clinical rotations has been amazing. Also, how collaborative my class is. At Cornell, I would hide my study guides, but at UMass, we spam everyone’s inboxes with them.
Most surprising thing you’ve discovered about Worcester?
How many great restaurants there are! Between Corner Grille, 111 Chop House, The Sole Proprietor and Bocado, I have so much trouble deciding where to eat.