Emily Osborne '18

Emily Osborne

Major: English, minors in chemistry and biology

Why did you choose to study your majors/minor?

Throughout high school and college, I’ve rarely wavered in my determination to become a physician. However, my choice of major was much more difficult than choosing my career path. I began my first year as a physics major, confident that this plan would not change. However, at the beginning of second semester, my Paideia instructor introduced me to the idea of becoming an English major.

I initially rejected this thought, believing that an English major would not match the math-loving, science nerd that I am. Yet, when I truly considered the love I hold for books, the energy I gain by reading poetry, and the thrill I get out of class discussions, I realized that an English major matched my deepest loves and values quite perfectly. I continue to be very passionate about the sciences and medicine, and aspire to use the skills that I gain from my English major to communicate effectively with patients and medical administration as well as to write about social issues in medicine.

Describe your experience with the Luther faculty.

All faculty members that I’ve encountered at Luther have been entirely centered on their students. Although most professors are engaged in important research, they, first and foremost, love to teach. They genuinely care about the goals, worries, and joys of their students, and they demonstrate this concern regularly.

Have you been involved in a research project?

For my work-study position, I’m a research assistant. The professor I work with is in the process of writing a book about characters that feign disability in early modern drama. I spend three hours per week working independently on various research tasks related to this project. I’ve learned a great deal about the research, writing, and editing processes from my work study.

What experiences at Luther have been most valuable so far?

Although this task required many late nights filled with confusion and stress, I absolutely loved the Paideia 112 research project. My paper was about the ethics of medico-surgical guilds during outbreaks of the Black Death. I asked the questions: Did physicians remain in their plague-infested communities to care for the ill, or did they flee? If they stayed, why? This project allowed me, for the first time in my life, to fully immerse myself in a topic that I became entirely passionate about. It also introduced me to my love of research, writing, and finding overlaps between medicine and the humanities.

What do you hope to do with your degree after graduation?

I hope to attend medical school to become a family practitioner or an obstetrician/gynecologist. I’d like to pursue an additional degree in global health and spend ample time teaching healthcare providers in third world countries. Through all of this, I plan to use the skills gained in my English major by writing about my experiences and about ethical issues in medicine.

Why did you choose a liberal arts education?

I’m passionate about pursuing a career in medicine, but I strongly believe in the importance of the humanities. I chose a liberal arts education to pursue studies in English, music, and the social sciences while preparing for medical school.  

How do you get involved in the Decorah community?

My favorite Decorah community events are the ArtHaus poetry slams. I have not yet performed my own poetry at one of these events, but I greatly enjoy experiencing the incredible literary, comedic, and theatrical talent within this community. The environment of these poetry slams (which, I believe, directly parallels the environment of Decorah’s community) is welcoming, fun, supportive, and open.

What is one class that you would recommend all students take, regardless of major?

In my mind, all students should take Literature by Women. The texts we studied in this course are phenomenal, and they prompted mind-shifting conversations about gender, love, and equality.

Leadership Experience

“The summer after my first year, I created, proposed, and launched a music enrichment volunteer program for the pediatric oncology and hematology department at Essentia Health in Duluth, Minnesota.”

—Emily Osborne