Spotlight: Anishaa Sivakumar ’20
Anishaa Sivakumar '20, BHC Scholar, Burnett Medical Scholar, and biomedical sciences alumna, was active in Honors Congress, Pre-Med AMSA, and as a Symposium Team Leader during her time as a student, and conducted research investigating glioblastoma and Parkinson's disease. She is next headed to the Yale School of Medicine and looks forward to becoming a physician after graduation.
What leadership positions, research experiences, internship experiences, study abroad experiences, etc., did you have while at UCF? What did you learn from them and how do you think they helped you get where you are today?
At UCF, I had the tremendous opportunity to get involved in many different activities all at once, and all of them played some part in influencing my choice of career and future goals. As a member of both Honors Congress and Pre-Med AMSA, the importance of collaboration was impressed on me. I also learned important leadership skills which I utilized both as treasurer of the local Pre-Med AMSA branch my junior year and as the chair of the National AMSA AIDS Advocacy Network my senior year. Aside from my involvement in RSOs, much of my time was spent doing basic science research [on Parkinson's disease] at Lake Nona under the direction of Dr. [Yoon-Seong] Kim. This experience revealed to me how much I love learning, and how critical it was that I attend a medical school that supported my interests and gave me room to explore new frontiers. Finally, I participated in two trips organized through the Alternative Break Program, the first to Puerto Rico, and the second to Atlanta. Both of these experiences challenged my expectations, and truly helped me grow as a person.
What is your long-term goal/future plans? How did the BHC help you to achieve these goals?
I plan on attending medical school these next four years, and possibly applying for a dual degree in public health. While I'm unsure of where medical school will take me, I know I will remain passionate about becoming an advocate for my patients, and that I will continue to work towards improving access to quality care for everyone.
Many, if not all of the experiences I had at UCF, were due to my involvement in the Burnett Honors College. My research was possible due to my involvement with BHC and I was able to work on projects sponsored in grants I learned about through the [college]. I also learned I love teaching through the BHC, where I served as a Team Leader my sophomore year. This experience led me to become an MCAT instructor for Kaplan and has led me to consider academic medicine as a possible career.
If all things go right, 10 years from now I will most likely be...
...practicing medicine and successfully working to support my patients!
What advice do you have for other students who may be interested in following a similar path?
It's easy to think of applying for medical school as a checklist of things to accomplish. However, if you aren't enjoying everything you do, not only are you likely to struggle with sharing these experiences, it's far more likely that you will suffer from burnout. I challenge you to instead find activities and experiences that excite and energize you. Your authenticity will come through and impress reviewers when you share these activities in your application!
What are your favorite hobbies?
I love to sing, and I play a few different instruments (including the guitar and flute) whenever I can! I also love to sew -- I created a quilt out of my high school t-shirts and am currently making a pillowcase out of my college shirts!