Meet Nicole, our summer intern

 

"As a double major in biochemistry and political science, I've noticed the disconnect between these two fields and believe that in order to expedite quality care for children with cancer, this bridge needs to be strengthened."

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Nicole Newman is interning with us in Washington this summer, assisting our DC staff on a variety of advocacy projects. In this guest blog post, Nicole shares why she is spending her summer with us in Washington: 


As an undergraduate student at the College of Saint Benedict and St. John’s University, I have had the opportunity to experience life in the small farm town of St. Joseph, Minnesota, engage in a diverse set of classes at two private liberal arts colleges, and gain educational opportunities outside the bounds of Minnesota from professors and staff.

Though it was not the path I had originally intended taking in college, I found myself double majoring in biochemistry and political science by the end of my sophomore year, with a goal of one day becoming a pediatric oncologist.

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This decision always come with people questioning, “That's a strange combination. Why both majors?” The first time I was asked this, I did not know how to respond. It does seem strange. So I thought about how my journey at the College of Saint Benedict led me to deciding that both majors of study are more important than choosing one.

Looking at these fields of study from afar, biochemistry and political science seem to be complete opposites. Biochemistry classes teach about chemical reactions, biological processes, and the concept that there is always a right answer. In political science courses, we discuss theories, the diversity of opinions, and that there is no simple and right answer to the biggest questions - like how the health care system should operate in the United States.

Though these majors seem to be polar opposites, once I began to study both simultaneously, I realized how interdependent they are. For example, one common misconception I held is that doctors have all the power. I believed this misconception for a while -- until I took my first political science course and I realized that the power doctors have stems from the government. The government has the power to allocate money and resources - and therefore power - as they deem fit. The government oversees the health care system, clinical trials, medical research, and even who gets to call themselves a doctor. 

That's when I realized that the best way to make change in healthcare is to advocate for policies you believe in to legislators.

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Because of the inequalities that face children with cancer and my belief in organizations whose mission is to advocate for improved policies on their behalf, I knew that an internship at Children’s Cause was the perfect fit for me.

I've been following the Children's Cause in their work toward legislative victories such as the renewal of CHIP and the recent signing of the STAR Act, and I've noticed how these efforts have been working towards one common goal:  bridging the gap between policymakers and doctors. As someone who is double majoring in biochemistry and political science, I've noticed the disconnect between these two fields and believe in order to expedite quality care for children with cancer, this bridge needs to be strengthened.

Children’s Cause works tirelessly to bridge the gap, and I could not be happier to help in any way I can on this journey.

- Nicole


We are thrilled to have Nicole as part of our team this summer. She'll share more on this blog about her experiences in the coming weeks.