Centre College offers a guarantee for every student to engage in at least one internship or research opportunity during their four years at the College. Brown Fellow Makena Mette ’21 (Brookings, South Dakota) chose to take full advantage of that offer, traveling the world and gaining experience for the medical career she plans to pursue.
Before the start of her junior year, she spent the summer interning at the Thammasat University Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand; the Manmohan Memorial Medical College and Teaching Hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal; and the Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center in Rapid City, South Dakota.
In Thailand, Mette spent two weeks shadowing in an orthopedic outpatient clinic and two weeks in the operating room, primarily focusing on cardiothoracic surgery and neurosurgery. While in Nepal, she worked a week in the neuromedicine outpatient clinic, a week in the emergency department and two weeks in the operating room. In her home state of South Dakota, she assisted with cognitive rehabilitation exercises for patients who had suffered traumatic brain injuries.
“I wanted to spend a good portion of my summer abroad following a CentreTerm trip to Belize and the spring abroad in London,” Mette said. “I had never been to Thailand or Nepal before, and Thailand has always been on my list of countries I wanted to visit.
“Through another Brown Fellow, I discovered a volunteer organization called Friends for Asia, which provides numerous internships in a variety of different areas all around Asia,” she continued. “I have always loved to travel and am quite interested in global healthcare—how different cultures and their respective practices impact the most prevalent medical conditions in the area.”
Due to her own extensive history with concussions, Mette said she is also very interested in traumatic brain injuries. The Brain Injury Rehabilitation Center provided experience working with individuals who had not only suffered concussions but also strokes, severe car accidents resulting in comas and falls, among other things.
“My experiences were amazing,” she added. “I saw things abroad that would never be seen in the U.S.—there is a much larger degree of health illiteracy in Thailand and Nepal, resulting in people waiting too long to see a doctor. The doctors and surgeons I worked with prioritized my learning and would often halt the operations or consultations to explain anatomy, MRIs, x-rays, CTs and other procedures to me.
“I gained a lot of knowledge in various areas in healthcare, but most importantly, all of my experiences this summer confirmed my interest in medical school,” she continued. “Experiencing two new cultures was an incredible experience, and working at a clinic that specialized in traumatic brain injuries reinvigorated my passion in the field. However, I went from being certain I was going to be a neurologist to being interested in almost every medical field. I’ll be going into medical school with an open mind, allowing me to choose what is truly my passion. I’m incredibly thankful for my experiences this summer.”
In addition, Mette gained valuable clinical experience and confidence in the field that will help her with medical school applications and her future healthcare career. She was exposed to several areas of the medical field she had not previously considered but is now interested in.
“I am incredibly thankful for Centre and the Brown Foundation for the experiences I’ve been able to have during my time at the College thus far,” she concluded. “I have been incredibly well-prepared for every opportunity I’ve been provided, and I attribute a large part of that to the academic rigor and community at Centre.”
by Kerry Steinhofer
October 3, 2019