Student Profile: Elizabeth Curtiss
Saginaw sophomore Elizabeth Curtiss isn’t just taking notes about biology concepts at Alma College. Through her gene and cancer research with Eric Calhoun, assistant professor of biology, she is working with the real thing.
“If I’m having a bad day, I love going to the lab and focusing on this one thing I really, really enjoy for a few hours,” she says. “Learning about biology is so interesting to me, and I learn even more when the concept is right in front of me in the lab.”
Curtiss hopes to combine this passion with her love of her other major, Spanish, into a career as a physician. Not only does the language come easily to her, as she has been studying it since elementary school, she says being bilingual also has other benefits.
“Spanish is becoming such a common language in the United States, so being bilingual will help me communicate with patients who primarily speak it,” she says. “I’m thinking about enrolling in a dual MD/Ph.D. program, so I can both develop the research and clinical sides of medicine.”
An Alpha Gamma Delta sister, Curtiss plays intramural basketball, tutors and also volunteers through a hospice center. She says along with her research experience, all of these opportunities have been incredible.
“If you want to do something at Alma, people here will make sure you can do it,” she says. “Volunteering, especially, has given me experience talking to patients and caring for them. As a doctor, I’m going to have to deal with aging, death and dying, and though these things will always be difficult, I feel a little more prepared to deal with these situations.”