Describing herself as the kid who always scraped her knees and elbows, non-plussed Sasha Dausey ’25 embraced her medical immersion experience at the Dr. Kiran Patel College of Osteopathic Medicine at Nova Southeastern University in Ft. Lauderdale, suturing a pig’s foot, dissecting a pig’s brain, and becoming certified in CPR through her stipend as a Martin Nicholson Scholar this summer.
As a student who gravitates toward math and science classes, Dausey researched several programs that would allow for considerable hands-on and experiential learning in her favorite subjects. Fifty applicants were accepted for the program, which offered a balance of lectures, workshops, and labs taught by Nova’s professors and osteopath students.
“I’ve always been interested in the medical field, and having the summer scholarship gave me the opportunity. It was really eye-opening. This program introduced me to different aspects of the medical field and introductory courses to some fields I might be interested in in the future.”
Some of the workshops included dissecting a pig’s brain to understand and see firsthand the neurological structures that the professor was describing in the class. “It was a really neat experience,” she said. “ It taught us how professionals cut brains, how they categorize their findings, and how they diagnose issues. We learned more about why we study sheep brains because they are similar to human brains.”
A physical therapist taught wound packing and tourniquets in emergencies; in another course, the students learned about suturing and stitches; another course used medical maggots to clean out wounds; yet another ran the students through what to do in a mass casualty event. “It opened a lot of doors, and it provided a lot of experiences that I would never have gotten anywhere else," she said. "I’ve always been the kid who liked fixing things up and making things good again."
How does Dausey face the more sanguinary and high-pressure situations with equanimity? “High school has prepared me for that. I definitely have a lot going on in my life. It's good to find balance and time in my day to be organized and have a plan. Under pressure, I'm pretty good. It's when things pile up, and I don't take care of them right away that's when issues arise.
Dausey relished the experience not only for the opportunity to learn more about the medical practice but for the connections she made with fellow students who shared a similar passion. Another benefit of the summer stipend is that it permits students to test the waters in the subject they may wish to pursue (or not) in the future. For Dausey, the experience reaffirmed her interest in the medical field, although she admits she is unsure which field she wants to specialize in.
"Being a Martin Nicholson Scholar is giving Sasha opportunities that make a difference in how she sees herself and the future she envisions," Meghan Vigue, Sasha's mother, said.