“Medical access in Jamaica is nearly non-existent; nevertheless, the mission fueled my desire to improve the healthcare infrastructure in developing nations around the world.”
“I have wanted to pursue Medicine since I was six. I have come to love Biochemistry, which emphasizes the medical aspects while also providing me with a deep understanding of Chemistry and Biology,” says Virginia Titze, an Honors student who is working toward dual degrees in Biochemistry and Humanities. “The study of humans and our history is fascinating. I truly enjoy learning about past eras, what defines them, what they have contributed to the present, and how they will influence the future.”
Virginia combines her love of humanity and her respect for the processes that sustain life by traveling on medical missions whenever she can. During last year’s spring break, she joined medical professionals on a mission to the Buff Bay Parish of Jamaica. “We focused on prevention of diseases, mainly encountering the ever-growing problem of diabetes and high blood pressure. Medical access in Jamaica is nearly non-existent; nevertheless, the mission fueled my desire to improve the healthcare infrastructure in developing nations around the world.”
During the summer Virginia traveled to India, but rather than offering medical services, her group focused on disease prevention. “We traveled the country holding seminars, speaking to doctors in rural hospitals, and advising them on how to improve healthcare in the region. Since access to prescription drugs is not only limited, but also monetarily restrained, we held lectures on how to make use of one’s surroundings, including homeopathic medicine and ayurvedic approaches.”
For the Tallahassee community, Virginia has volunteered nearly 1000 hours of service, which, she says, “has significantly impacted me. Whether providing a meal for the homeless, soothing a nervous patient before surgery, or relieving parents of their duties for a short while, I have found that the more I help others, the more others have given back to me.”
On campus, she serves as treasurer of Alpha Chi Sigma, the national chemistry fraternity. As a Freshman Interest Group leader this past fall, Virginia taught the Pre-Med section to incoming freshmen. She is “most proud” of founding and establishing GlobeMed, a non-profit organization that mobilizes U.S. university students to work toward improving global health—through partnerships with health organizations in communities around the world, and through educational programs that provide students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet the challenges.
As an Honors student, Virginia performs research under the guidance of Dr. Charles Ouimet, professor of Biomedical Sciences. “We focus on the recovery of brain function after the brain has undergone a shock from stroke or trauma. Dr. Ouimet’s intense desire to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and Parkinson’s motivates me to continue my quest to impart change in my community and is the driving force for me to remain in the field of research.”