My appreciation of history began when I read my first historical fiction book as a child. It was a Royal Diaries book about Queen Isabella of Castile. However, when I came to Rice as a freshman, I never would have thought that I would end up double-majoring in Biochemistry & Cell Biology and Medieval & Early Modern Studies. I strongly believe that we can learn many lessons from history, and the humanities perspective I have gained through the Medieval and Early Modern Studies program has been very valuable to a STEM student like me. I’ve been able to learn about historical research methods and take a variety of classes from different disciplines, such as art history and English. One of the most interesting projects I worked on for a class was a study on medieval manuscript illuminations of Caesarean sections. While writing the paper, I began to realize that the significance of the medieval C-section extends far beyond science and into the religious, legal, and ethical facets of medieval Europe. As I am also interested in studying medicine in the future, this realization about the medieval C-section inspired a similar thought process when it came to medicine. This intersection of history and medicine is where my interest in the subjects has flourished. To me, both fields are about connecting the threads between shared stories to learn more about the person and his/her/their environment.
The experience of researching the medieval C-section encouraged me to pursue an independent study about medieval medicine the following semester. This introduced me to an area of study called the social history of medicine, or how health, disease, and healing function within a historical context. I was surprised to discover that there are both professors and physicians that have studied this field, and this gives me something to think about for my future goals. I believe that being a part of the Medieval Studies program has given me a valuable perspective that has and will continue to inspire me wherever my future leads!