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Senior Reflects on College Career, Eyes a Future in Medicine

Senior Reflects on College Career, Eyes a Future in Medicine

College is a time for students to explore new frontiers, enjoy new experiences and make new friends. When senior Megan Locke from Avon, IN, began her firstyear, she had typical uncertainties about her future. Transferring from Otterbein was an option but Locke decided to remain on campus. She was able to start making friends with her women’s tennis teammates. Having these friends made freshman year easier.

Three years later, she is loving her final semester at Otterbein and so happy about her college experience.

“Because of the atmosphere at Otterbein, I am more open to things,” said Locke. “Playing sports has also shaped who I am and the people I call some of my closest friends.”

Locke will graduate in May with a major in biology and a minor in psychology. Starting in their junior years, biology majors are required to conduct a senior thesis. Locke was part of the honors program and did her thesis on investigating pediatric cardiovascular issues at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She is studying the effects of a specific procedure on hearts of babies younger than one year old.

“I’ve been working on my thesis for the past year,” said Locke. “I learned a lot throughout this entire process. I made the connections and emailed a ton of doctors. Dr. Lisa Marr was vital in helping me believe that I could do that and be successful.

“When you find something you’re passionate about, it makes it easier to want to find out everything about it. I have been researching for the past year and the results are small and there is not a lot of literature on the topic, but I have grown tremendously.”

Locke worked in the hospital setting over the summer. Now, she is continuing to write and revise as her senior year progresses.

“I enjoyed being in the hospital because it showed me what I could actually be doing,” said Locke. “I gained so many new experiences and saw so many things that will carry over to my future.”

Locke loves to set goals and works hard to achieve them. Dr. Carl Backes, Jr. at Nationwide Children’s mentored and motivated Locke to exceed her goals.  

“I followed him around the hospital and saw what he practiced as a physician,” said Locke. “He would ask for me to present the findings of my research about once a week and this would be an impromptu presentation. I was extremely nervous at first but as he asked for these more often I became more confident. By the end I felt like I was able to interact with him on a peer level and not a student teacher level.”

Following graduation, Locke has medical school on her radar but first wants to take a year off and become involved with medical missions, something close to her heart.

She went to Tanzania in the summer of 2014 through MEDLIFE — Medicine, Education and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere. For two weeks, Locke worked in rural villages with people that didn’t see doctors. Locke helped with taking people’s blood pressure and temperatures, handing out medicine and giving toothbrushes to children. She was able to converse in different ways through smiles or gestures. She did start to learn the language because some of the people would teach her little things.

“I had a real eye-opening experience from this trip,” said Locke. “Tanzania became a home away from home for me. I met many different kinds of people but all with the kindest of hearts. The language barrier was hard but it didn’t halt all communications.”

Locke has some big goals set for her future. And although she began Otterbein as an uncertain freshman, she’s now ecstatic she stayed to tackle big issues.