Small-town student Sarah Mealy is from Plainville, Massachusetts. A seventh semester senior, she plays lacrosse and is passionate about traveling, sports medicine and maternal/global care. Mealy is currently studying athletic training as an undergraduate. She has worked as a Red Cross volunteer in Tanzania and hopes to go to medical school. Here is what she said about her experiences as a CAHNR student.
What attracted you to UConn? I transferred here from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth campus when I was a freshman. UConn was my top pick for its outstanding athletic training program. I have access to cutting edge clinical developments and top notch clinical rotations. I toured the campus, ended up loving it and haven’t looked back ever since! I’m pumped to be here.
What is your major, and why did you choose it? I am an athletic training major. I originally was a biology major at Dartmouth, and I wanted to pursue marine biology. It didn’t work out for me, and I reflected on my strong passion for athletics. I saw a news article when I was younger about the athletic trainer for the Celtics, and I thought it was the coolest thing ever. So when I decided to switch majors, I chose athletic training.
Which one of your UConn activities, internships or jobs was the most memorable? Why? My therapeutics course is a huge part of my major. We focus on the different ways that we treat patients, especially musculoskeletal injuries, which are the most common for athletes. It’s been a very rewarding, yet challenging, course for me.
Name two other experiences that have enriched your studies. Last summer, I felt that I needed additional experience and wanted to be immersed in something completely new. I’m really passionate about global healthcare, so I joined a trip with Child Family Health International, a non-profit, American Red Cross organization, to the country of Tanzania in East Africa. During the four-week trip I worked as an advocate for community healthcare and women’s empowerment in the city of Arusha.
I was able to experience varied clinical sites that allowed me to observe the full healthcare system in the country. During my last week, I worked in a delivery and neonatal care unit of a local hospital and saw five live deliveries. I was able to shadow the doctors and residents and be really hands-on with moving and admitting patients, changing IVs and taking vitals. This was the most rewarding experience for both my personal and professional goals, and I learned and grew immensely from it.
Being a member of UConn Women’s Club lacrosse team has been awesome. I treat and work with lots of athletes for my sports medicine clinicals, so it’s nice to be able to get out on the field and be an athlete myself.
What was the biggest challenge in your UConn career? The biggest challenges for me have been learning to roll with the punches and take one day at a time. My life goals and aspirations have changed dramatically over the years. Therefore, I feel like I have everything figured out one day and nothing figured out the next.
When do you expect to graduate? What then? I graduate in May 2017. It’s a little scary for me. Right now, I’m exploring my options. The Tanzania trip really opened my eyes, as it was my first time being exposed to the fields of gynecology, maternal and global healthcare.
My goal is to attend medical school. I have really enjoyed my education in sports medicine while here at UConn, so I am hoping to combine that with my passions for maternal and global healthcare.
Is there anything else you would like us to know about you? During my time in the hospital in Tanzania, I had the opportunity to see the birth of twins, and the mother actually sought my advice for their names! Together we ended up deciding on the names Harry and Hugo.
I have to listen to either Mozart or the Lone Survivor soundtrack when I study.