McCollough Testimonial

Emily Eichstaedt, a senior in the McCollough Institute of Pre-Medical Scholars.

A note from McCollough Senior Emily Eichstaedt about her time in the McCollough Institute:

“My name is Emily Eichstaedt, and I am a Senior in the McCollough Institute from Huntsville, AL. In May, I will graduate with a degree in Biology with minors in Spanish and Interdisciplinary Studies in Medicine. I am extremely excited to attend the University of Alabama in Birmingham Heersink School of Medicine in the fall. None of this would have been possible without the support and education I received from being a part of the 2020 McCollough Cohort.

The McCollough Institute has been instrumental in my success during my time here at the University of Alabama. It has given me a completely new insight into the art of medicine and given me the resources to succeed in my goal of becoming a physician. My first year, I remember engaging with a wide variety of fascinating papers and books that ranged from topics covering the history of medicine to social determinants of health and how they affect a patient’s experience with the healthcare system. The conversations that we had in class sparked a new passion that further solidified my decision to pursue healthcare as a future career. In learning about the way that the social determinants of health affected the patient experience in my introductory classes, I have been inspired to pursue healthcare to tackle some inequities in the healthcare system, such as the language barrier. This along with another class I took here, Spanish for Healthcare, gave me the opportunity to learn how to become a Spanish Interpreter and help serve the large Spanish Speaking community of Tuscaloosa and the surrounding areas. I began Spanish Interpreting at Maude L. Whatley Health and continued to do so for about a year. This opportunity allowed me to see what I had been learning about firsthand and gave me a new perspective about what healthcare means to me. Without this education that I received in McCollough, I do not think this experience would have been as impactful as it was for me. This program has fostered so much personal growth and has truly helped shape me into the woman I am today.

In addition, the support that McCollough has given me has been amazing. It is so comforting to see familiar faces in classes and know that you will always have people to study with, ask questions about the material, and just talk about the experience of navigating the coursework. It has been so enjoyable to get to see everyone grow so much during the last three years and it is even more exciting to watch them tackle their dreams. In addition, the resources that the program has given me are amazing. The guest lectures are another way to help us learn about various facets of the medical field and deepen our understanding of what medicine is and all that it entails. The program also has given me access to excellent advisors, like Mrs. Denham, and allowed me to form relationships with these individuals who have helped me get to where I am today. I am so grateful to have been a part of the McCollough Institute as it has shaped me into a better person, and I honestly believe it will help me be a better physician. It has equipped me with the tools and understanding to succeed as well as providing me with a support system along the way. I look forward to finishing my senior year and cannot be more grateful to have had the opportunity to be a part of something so special.”