Notre Dame junior Kate Squiers wants to be a doctor—and knows that a broad-based liberal arts education can help her become a great one.
“I’ve always liked history,” says the history and Arts and Letters Pre-Health major from Dallas, Texas. “I like that it’s multidisciplinary; I like that when you look at a past society you not only look at when and where that was but also at the cultural, religious, political, and economic context.
“I think that will contribute to my career as a physician in terms of looking at patients and understanding them culturally or religiously in addition to what their health background is and then treating them appropriately knowing those things.”
As a student in Notre Dame’s Glynn Family Honors Program, Squiers benefits from special seminar classes and funding for a full summer of research. Her invitation to the program, she says, was a key factor in her decision to attend Notre Dame.
“I was trying to decide between Notre Dame and a different liberal arts school,” Squiers says. “With the Glynn Program, you get the best of a big school with resources, funding, and opportunities but also get specialized attention and smaller class sizes. Those are things that definitely factored into my decision.”
Asking the Big Questions
Through the Glynn program, Squiers was able to complete her philosophy, theology, history, social science, and literature requirements with other Glynn scholars in intimate, discussion-based courses where professors encourage students to ask the “big questions,” she says.
“It laid a good foundation for critical thinking in the rest of my college experience.”
Students in the Glynn program, who come from a variety of liberal arts and science majors, learn from each other as well. “I like the interaction I was able to have with really engaging students,” Squiers says. “It was really great to get all different perspectives.”
Her favorite course, she says, was also her most difficult: Contemporary Political Philosophy with Professor Paul Weithman. “It was really challenging, but through that challenge I grew a lot as a student.”
The intensive seminars enable students to develop close mentoring relationships with some of the University’s top professors, Squiers adds. “The Glynn professors are very interested in students’ development—and not just academically but in your life goals as well.”
Across Campus and the World
Despite the demanding academic schedule of a Glynn Scholar, Squiers is involved with a multitude of other activities at Notre Dame, including the University’s Hesburgh-Yusko Scholars program, the Department of History’s honors program, and the Kellogg International Scholars Program, where she is a research assistant on an international education project. She also finds time to volunteer at the Early Childhood Development Center.
Squiers kept busy over the summers too, participating in an International Summer Service Learning Project in India through the Center for Social Concerns and shadowing pediatric oncologists at a Barcelona hospital, funded by a grant from the Nanovic Institute for European Studies.
She spent the fall semester studying abroad in Puebla, Mexico, where she had the opportunity to work at a public hospital. “Learning the language and how medicine fits within the Mexican culture made the experience really unforgettable,” Squiers says.
This coming summer, she plans to use her Glynn funding to conduct research at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer in Houston. When she returns to Notre Dame next fall, Squiers will begin work on a senior thesis that combines her two majors. Her thesis will focus on American pediatric hospitals in the 20th century, particularly with respect to the liberalization of visitation policies in children’s hospitals.
“I’m looking forward to my senior thesis,” she says. “I think that will be a really great capstone to my college experience.”