Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing
Hometown: Burr Ridge, Illinois
Major: Bachelor of Science Health Systems Management
Expected Graduation: 2019
Afshan received a 2017 Provost Fellowship for biochemistry research and was selected into the Upsilon Phi Delta Honor Society for students of health care management and policy. An active campus leader, Afshan is president of the Health Systems Management Student Council, organizing professional events, creating community, and working with program alumni. She is vice president and staff writer for PreMedLife, a publication for pre-med students.
As a volunteer, she has mentored Chicago Public School students at Rush; interned for Invitation Relief’s nonprofit Syrian refugee program and for Miracle Medical Center, a clinic near Loyola’s campus; and worked in Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s oncology and histology laboratory.
Her goal to become a reconstructive plastic surgeon began when she was an adolescent and attended a fundraiser for victims of acid throwing; she vowed then to strive to understand their trauma and help change their lives for the better.
Here, Afshan shares what she has learned by working with the uninsured and underinsured and about developing the body, mind, and soul—and how that holistic approach will apply to her future in health care.
What was the most meaningful volunteer, service, or student organization activity you’ve been involved in? How has it influenced you or shaped you as a person?
I would highlight my volunteer experience at Miracle Medical Center, a federally qualified health center. I’ve been able to understand the gaps in our health care system and the health inequity in our immediate community on a personal level by assisting at the clinic. By taking patient vitals, hearing patient life stories, and comforting patients, I learned the urgency of attending to vulnerable populations. I understand that my commitment to providing care to “the other” as a future physician must be directly embedded in the community. As a result, I plan to always serve the community as a future physician and human being!
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your Jesuit education?
My Jesuit education has instilled the importance of developing the whole person by unifying the heart, mind, and soul. From researching the functionality of an enzyme in a lab to organizing networking events, Loyola has provided me opportunities to enrich the whole being. Faculty and staff members have made it possible for me to practice the hard sciences in the lab and to be a leader among my peers by providing me constant support and encouragement. Although these are very different disciplines, a Jesuit education enables me to blend all my interests into my overall experience at Loyola.
What do you hope to achieve after college, and how has Loyola prepared you?
I plan to apply for medical school to fulfill my passion for and interest in reconstructive surgery. Until then, I endeavor to serve the community by volunteering in a medical facility. Loyola has prepared me for my future by allowing me to mix disciplines: health systems management and medicine. I have developed leadership skills, professionalism, and a dedicated work ethic that will allow me to grow and flourish in the medical field. The mission statement encourages me to carry the Jesuit values I’ve learned through everything I do. I hope to improve the quality of care for patients through practicing medicine and health policy one day.