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MICUA Matters Newsletter

Biochemistry and Basketball are a Slam-Dunk for Washington College Student

Spring 2017

Brynne Brouse was recruited by Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, to play basketball, but the professors she met on Science Day clinched the deal.

Now, three years later, the biology major with a concentration in biochemistry plans to finish her pre-med requirements and enroll in medical school right after earning her undergraduate degree, rather than take the customary gap year.

“I’ve heard from friends at other schools who have to choose between academics and sports,” Brouse says. “My coach insists we put academics before anything else. One teammate had the opportunity to go to Omaha to meet Warren Buffett, and she missed one game. When I had a job shadowing experience, I had to miss a practice.”

The professors she met that first day — particularly pre-med advisor Kate Verville and biochemistry professor Mindy Reynolds — have not disappointed. “Biochemistry is definitely challenging, but what I really liked about that course is you learn the mechanisms of a protein that can signal pathways, but you also learn how it’s relevant. For example, we looked at the mechanism of how hemoglobin releases and picks up oxygen for us to breathe and how this can be related to athletes training at higher altitudes or the reason behind why premature babies have difficulty breathing. I love to see the biochemistry behind the medical problem and understand that these premature babies have difficulty breathing because they have a different type of tissue that can’t bind with hemoglobin.”

Time management becomes key when you are juggling early-morning strength training, afternoon labs, practices, and games. “During basketball season, I think I get more accomplished because I’m on such a strict schedule,” she says. Still, she has found the time to serve as a peer mentor, volunteer with Habitat for Humanity, and complete advanced EMT training.

“That was a lot of fun because I hadn’t had the opportunity to do hands-on medicine before,” Brouse says. Not only did she get to use the Jaws of Life — “the coolest thing ever” — she learned how to recognize the signs and symptoms of various life-threatening ailments.

“When I think about having a job, I want to have an impact. I want to fix problems. I want to help people. Medicine will allow me to do that.”

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