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Abby Colburn

Abby Colburn of South Windsor, Connecticut has become an active member of the UConn community through conducting research, studying abroad and taking on a variety of leadership roles. After she graduates in May 2016 with a degree in allied health sciences, Abby hopes to become an orthopedic surgeon in sports medicine. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.

What attracted you to UConn? I actually did not plan to come to UConn. However, my parents and my brother all attended UConn, it was affordable, and I was impressed by the unique allied health sciences program.

Why did you choose your particular major? I knew that I wanted to be on the pre-medical track, and, initially, I wanted to major in biology. However, when I discovered the allied health program, I liked that it provided many different career options. Also, I had the opportunity to meet a few allied health professors prior to starting UConn, and I decided that allied health was the best fit.

Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? My most memorable part of UConn has been being a Resident Assistant (RA). I have been an RA since my sophomore year. Through this job, I have experienced a lot of personal growth. I have learned to take on a variety of roles for my residents, such as friend, peer, guidance counselor and even mother. I have also learned to manage my time, adapt to and solve situations and interact with many different people. When I first entered college, I had trouble meeting people. Through my job as an RA, however, I have met some of my best friends and gotten to know a great group of fellow staff members and hall directors.

Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. I am the president of both the Allied Health Sciences Club and Alpha Lambda Delta, a national honor society. I became involved with both of these organizations during my freshman year, and after joining the executive boards, I was elected president. It has been interesting to take on this role in two different organizations. I have grown immensely as a leader. I used to be a perfectionist and wanted to do everything by myself. However, I have learned the value of delegating tasks, and I have become more skilled in problem solving and working with different people.

In addition, I began conducting research at the Korey Stringer Institute in the Department of Kinesiology during the fall of 2014. At first, I did not think that I would enjoy research, and I only became involved because I knew that it was important when applying to medical schools. However, I immediately loved working at the lab, and it has been a great experience. I work with an awesome group of people that are really interested in helping each other learn. Also, I had the opportunity to work with one of our Division I sports teams that participated in the study. I am currently using this research to work on my honors thesis.

What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? My biggest challenge was adjusting to college. I was very comfortable in middle and high school. When I arrived at UConn, however, it took me a while meet new people. Everyone has an image of what they think college will be like, and I did not have the experience that I expected at first. Now, however, I absolutely love UConn.

When do you expect to graduate? What then? I plan to graduate in May 2016. I am currently applying to both medical schools and graduate programs. My ultimate goal is to become an orthopedic surgeon in sports medicine. However, I am considering completing a UConn master’s program in exercise science before going to medical school.

Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? While at UConn, I had the opportunity to study abroad. This past summer, I participated in the UConn Neuroscience in Salamanca, Spain program. While there, I took psychology and Spanish courses, traveled throughout Europe and met a great group of people.

I wanted to do something totally different for my last semester at UConn. I figured that I would probably be able to return to Europe one day, but I questioned whether I would have the chance to travel to other places in the world. For this reason, I decided to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. Through this UConn program, I am able to take human rights courses and intern at a medical clinic.

By Lauren O’Malley