Alycia M. Valente, Class of 2008

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Alycia M. Valente

Thesis Title:  "Religion:  A Prescription for the Child's Body and Soul?"

Advisor: James T. Johnson

 
Coming into Rutgers University, I knew that I wanted to go to medical school. So why choose a religion major? I knew that I was going to study science for the rest of my life, and that college was the only time where I could branch out and learn something new and different. The religion department at Rutgers offered a variety of classes that allowed me to explore areas of politics, history, psychology, philosophy and even science that I had no idea existed. It gave me a venue to expand my mind while putting my nose to the grindstone trying to pass organic chemistry.
 
At my junior year at Rutgers, I was admitted to the BA/MD program at Robert Wood Johnson Medical School. Through taking classes in both the religion department and the medical school, I became aware of how I could put the two together in practice. In my senior thesis, I delved into the field of bioethics.  This showed me how the ethical, moral and religious standards of the patient could affect their quality of care.  Writing and researching this topic helped me to keep focused on why I wanted to be a doctor in the first place. It let me see an area of the medical profession where I could use all of the knowledge I had gained in both undergrad and medical school, and really make a difference in people’s lives.  Although it was a lot of work, I am definitely glad I did it.  I also want to give a special thanks to Dr. Johnson. He was a fantastic advisor on this project. He helped me shift through a recent field of study that has a plethora of resources shattered around every academic discipline. I couldn’t have done it without him.