“As a curious first year student with a core passion for humanitarian work, I chose a wide variety of courses in my first semester. From Psychopathology to Introductory Biology to International Studies 101, I was so excited to see what would interest me the most. The ideas of global citizenship and the interdisciplinary nature of the first International Studies course piqued my interest immediately, and led me to pursue what I believe is one of the most unique majors in LSA. Under the Global Environment and Health sub-plan, I was exposed to analysis of global health interventions, international development, and cross-cultural perspectives on the end of life (shoutout Dr. Stonington’s EOL Seminar!). All of these conceptual frameworks will be essential in my current goals to pursue medicine and long-term hope to work in global communities. 

The International Studies major also allowed me to pursue my dream of studying abroad, which (though it was cut short due to COVID-19) remains as one of my favorite memories of college. My epidemiology and health systems coursework in Buenos Aires, Argentina culminated in an independent research thesis where I compared limitations of diabetes prevention by the primary care system in the metropolitan region. This opportunity to formulate and execute a personal project, conduct interviews with health care professionals in the host language, and synthesize my findings taught me invaluable communication and adaptability skills — punctuated by traveling back to the U.S. during a global pandemic. 

As I graduate, I am so excited to take what I have learned in the realm of public health and apply it to my future career as a physician and a global citizen.”

Annika Dhawan

BS International Studies (Global Environment and Health); minor, Biochemistry ‘21

Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA

Affiliations: AED (Academic Chair), Michigan Movement (VP), Spanish Club (VP), GET Access Telehealth Initiative (volunteer)

Future plans: “I am planning to work as a research assistant for a year before pursuing medical school.”

Fondest memory of her experience in PICS: “Going abroad to study public health in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Though it was severely cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I had a wonderful month living in Buenos Aires, integrating into my host family's community, attending the annual march on International Women's Day, and visiting Mount Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Americas.”

Is there anything you would like to express to your peers, parents, professors, or others?: “I would like to stress to my peers the individuality of our careers, rooted in a shared interest of multiculturalism, global involvement, and willingness to explore. Looking at our PICS collective world map, we are headed to different corners of the globe with a huge array of careers and aspirations. Never doubt your path because it is unique and if you are confident in what you aim for, you will get there. Thank you to my amazing professors and advisors in PICS - I'm lucky to have chosen such an awesome major.”