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Careers in Motion: Tara Loughery ’18 STEM in Richmond

“I was thinking about switching from medical practice to medical research instead. The career trip really helped me justify switching my focus to pursue research.”

Meet Tara Loughery, a junior who was considering going pre-med, but decided to pursue a different path.

So you’re obviously in a STEM path already. What made you want to go on this trip?

I saw an ad for the trip in the Science Center. I had already been thinking about changing my plans for the future and wanted to see what options were out there.

Has STEM been “part of the plan” for a while?

When I was little, I wanted to be a doctor. That was a dream that followed me all the way to when I first entered college.

You don’t sound super convinced. Do you still want to be a doctor?

I had started thinking about changing my plans. I was thinking about switching from medical practice to medical research instead. The career trip really helped me justify switching my focus to pursue research.

#wluCarrer Trips all scrubbed up and learning about robotic surgical instruments at Richmond's Retreat Hospital#wluCareer Trips all scrubbed up and learning about robotic surgical instruments at Richmond’s Retreat Hospital

There were a lot of opportunities on this trip. Did you learn anything you didn’t expect?

I really enjoyed hearing about all of the different types of STEM jobs. It’s not just medicine. I really liked going to the psychology center. We were walked through what running a clinical psychology trial was like — what things to look out for, what tools to use, how to combine results. We even learned how clinics apply for funding — the real nitty gritty.

I felt like I learned a lot from everywhere we went. I appreciated how everyone told me the most important piece of advice to them in getting their careers started.

Who has been the most influential person in your studies, especially in your thoughts about the future?

My mom inspires me. She is incredibly kind and hardworking.

#wluCareerTrips in Richmond with Gary Bokinsky MD '67 learning about urology medical practicing and pursuing a career in medical research#wluCareerTrips in Richmond with Gary Bokinsky MD ’67 learning about urology medical practicing and pursuing a career in medical research

Okay, flashback time. If you could go back to First Year Tara and tell her one thing, what would it be?

Being a doctor is not the be-all, end-all peak of success in science. There are lots of things you can do to help people with your knowledge.

Would you tell her to go on the career trip?

Absolutely! It can never hurt to see what kind of opportunities are out there, especially in STEM, where there are more things than you might think.

#wluCareerTrips enjoying an early morning on the farm learning about STEM jobs in agriculture, ecology and enviro.#wluCareerTrips enjoying an early morning on the farm learning about STEM jobs in agriculture, ecology and enviro.

You sound like you’ve got your plate full. Medical research? A Ph.D in clinical neuroscience? Are you excited — or scared?

I’m excited about the future in general. I don’t know exactly what I will end up doing but I feel like there are a million possibilities!

Does this sound interesting? We live-tweeted this entire trip, and you can check out all of the good stuff we learned on the trip here.
Are you interested in finding a career or internship? Are you wondering how to start working towards your dream job? The Career Development Office wants to help! Check out their website and make an appointment today!

A little more about Tara

Hometown:
Roanoke, Virginia

Majors:
Neuroscience and Sociology

Extracurricular involvement:
Relay for Life, College Access, Alpha Phi Omega

Why did you choose your major?
I picked neuroscience because I think the brain is fascinating. It is so powerful and we understand so little about it. I picked sociology because I think it is important to understand how society influences people and the way they live their lives.

What professor has inspired you?
Dr. Novack was one of the first professors and he inspired my love of sociology and has helped shape my W&L experience.

What’s your personal motto?
Anything worth having is worth working for.

What’s your favorite song right now?
“Closer.” I know how basic that is but it is very catchy.

Best place to eat in Lexington? What do you order?
Napa Thai. You have to get the chicken pad Thai!

What do you wish you’d known before you came to campus?
The words to Wagon Wheel

Post-graduation plans:
Hopefully a Ph.D program in clinical neuroscience

Favorite W&L memory:
All of them. I love W&L.

Favorite class:
Richmond Term

Favorite W&L event:
Mock Con

Favorite campus landmark: Lee Chapel

What’s your passion?
I love doing research.

What’s something people wouldn’t guess about you?
I’m half Indian (like the Indians from India)

Why did you choose W&L?
I love the campus, the small class sizes, the close relationships with professors, and my parents went here so it feels like home.