Kara Davis (B.S. ’23), a senior majoring in the Human Biology Program, started out in the College of Arts and Sciences as a student in the Arts and Sciences Undergraduate Research Experience (ASURE) program, quite sure that her path lie in research. As she studied and explored her interests, she realized that one of the best things about majoring in human biology was its human-centered approach to health.
Student Spotlight: Kara Davis
In her human biology studies, she said, “People are treated like people instead of data points and we use people’s experiences to further what we know about health care and public health.” Kara was exploring research opportunities as early as her freshman year in ASURE, though her studies were leading her to begin thinking about careers where she could care for patients.
ASURE gave Kara research experience in the genome engineering lab of Lecturer Mike Manzella, in the Department of Biology, and taught her skills she hadn’t anticipated on top of the hands-on element. “I loved the experience it gave me,” she said. “I loved how I became a better science writer, and how I became more capable of talking to people who aren’t necessarily studying what I’m studying.” As she progressed in ASURE though, she realized that she was ultimately interested in people and wanted to study and eventually work in a field where she can ensure their wellbeing.
After completing ASURE, Kara has been focusing on becoming a physician’s assistant so she can take care of people and use her knowledge for the good of patients. Her concentration within human biology is reproduction and sexuality, and she’s minoring in obesity and health which is available through the School of Public Health, on the Bloomington campus. Kara believes that her Public Health minor works well with her studies in the College because much of the curriculum focuses on the lived experience of people with certain health conditions, while her human biology studies supply the technical and scientific knowledge that are foundational to those studies.
Kara’s abiding interest in people has influenced how she spends her time outside of the classroom, as well. She is part of the Intra Collegiate Emergency Medical Services (IC-EMS) organization at IU, serving on the executive board as their public relations director. IC-EMS is present at IU and some community events and provides state-certified, non-transport basic life support services. Kara is CPR and First Aid American Heart Association certified, and this allows her to provide a level of healthcare and prep her for a career in medicine.
Sharing the promise of the College
Kara has been an Ambassador for the College for the past three and a half years, and her empathy for prospective students and the big decisions they’re making is obvious. “Helping people trying to find their path, whether that’s in the College or not – I just love that,” she explained. “I’ve had such an exceptional experience here at the College, and at IU in general, that I would love for that to be someone else’s experience as well.”
As a former IU tour guide, Kara has had to sum up why she chose IU and the College for prospective students often over her university career. The answer, she said, is three-pronged:
“The first [reason] is that the campus is so gorgeous. I think I went on seven or eight campus tours within a year and a half, but I’ve loved the campus since I stepped foot on it. I also thought I wanted to do research, I thought I wanted to be involved with a lab, so understanding the huge research opportunities offered at IU was great. In particular I loved the microbiology aspect of it, but I know there are thousands of research opportunities in the humanities as well. And then I also love the big campus feel of the school. I wanted the athletics, the 800-some clubs or whatever we’re at now. I love it.”
Then there’s the Walter Center for Career Achievement – the ultimate source of College resume assistance, interview practice, career advice, snacks, and more. Kara joined the Ambassadors after getting involved with an ASURE career course offered by the Walter Center, and has made it a campus home, attending events hosted there, grabbing snacks from the hospitality room, and seeing career advisors once a semester or more. The Walter Center is a promise to students like Kara that their internship and career searches will be nurtured by the College, and that they will supported during their degree and beyond.
“I’ve just loved my experience at IU and I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” Kara said. “I look back on my application process and it’s funny that I considered anywhere else.”