Student Star: Andrea Dotson

Name: Andrea Dotson

“Learning always seems easy when you're really passionate about the material. I retain information by relating it to real-life applications.”

Andrea Dotson is working toward two degrees, Biology and Religion, and is carrying two minors, Chemistry and Psychology, yet she still manages to appear on the Dean’s List. How does she handle such a load of disparate courses? Does she possess a photographic memory? No, she says, “Learning always seems easy when you’re really passionate about the material. I retain information by relating it to real-life applications; that way it doesn’t seem dull.”

She’s applies her knowledge of Biology to the General Biology Lab where she serves as an undergraduate teaching assistant (TA). “I love being a TA; my students teach me so much. Every semester I learn more life lessons than I do in any other class.”

In her sophomore year, Andrea (called “Annie” by her friends and family) joined the Alternative Break Corps. During spring break, she worked in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia with child life specialists, assisting in the care of seriously ill children. For four years, Annie has volunteered at “amazing” Camp Boggy Creek, a camp that holds weekend retreats for families with children affected by HIV, sickle cell anemia, and cancer. She says, “In the summer, children in wheelchairs or those who have had a bone marrow transplant can come and have fun just as with any camp, except here they are provided with needed medical resources.”

After graduation in April, Annie will take her Chemistry and Biology knowledge and enter the Teach for America Corps. In Houston, she’ll teach high school Science for two years. After that, she plans to attend medical school, studying to become a pediatric oncologist, a field that “requires a lot of knowledge about Biomedical Ethics.” She explains, “That’s where a degree in Religion comes into play. Everyone has some kind of religion, whether it is the existence or absence of it. That cross-cultural aspect is very interesting.”

Annie’s sense of ethics comes into play through her continual involvement in community service. She’s served as the survivorship chair for Relay for Life and as the outreach team leader for ECHO, an organization that serves the homeless. As a site leader trainer this past year for the Alternative Break Corps, she helped train the 22 site leaders who will lead the 2007 spring break trips.

For her service involvement, Annie has been honored with the Center for Civic Education and Service’s Student Profiles of Service Award.