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Honors College Chronicles

An Anthropological Look at Medicine

Kristin Juhasz

“It opened my eyes to the harsh realities of the world around me,” she said. “Before 9/11, I was content in my little music realm. After 9/11, I craved knowledge about what makes people tick—how history, politics, economics, religion, and science all come together to make the world as we know it.  My instant response to the events of 9/11 was that I needed to take a more active role in my society, and I felt that I personally could best accomplish this through the pursuit of medicine…. The summer after my freshman year, I took anatomy with Dr. [Michael] Kesner at IUP. This course proved to me that I found the science of the human body absolutely fascinating.”

Today, in pursuit of a double major in Biology and Anthropology at IUP, Juhasz is spending this semester in South Africa courtesy of a grant from Sigma Xi, a scientific research honor society. She is researching the effectiveness and accuracy of health care messages and how effectively Western medicine is integrated into the world of traditional healers. She felt South Africa was the ideal place to learn about the pros and cons of public health because of the high number of HIV-positive and AIDS patients.

“I find that the Anthropology enhances the Biology major and vice versa. In Biology, I am particularly attracted by genetics, neuroscience, epidemiology, and public health.  In anthropology, the medical and applied aspects place elements of my biological science interests into the appropriate historic, cultural, political, and economic contexts,” Juhasz said. “By understanding medicine from a more holistic view, one can take this knowledge and begin applying it in a culturally sensitive manner that can help a culture use their definition of medicine more effectively and can ultimately lead to change at the level of the individual, family, community, and even public policy.”

High School Students Explore Honors College in Summer

What is an inverted paragraph? What in the world is magnetic resonance spectroscopy? How do we tell the good from the bad?

High school students in the Summer Honors Program have encountered and explored all of these questions. Each year, participants pack up their window fans, sunscreen, pillows, notebooks, and curiosity to attend a two-week program that leaves the typical summer camp in the dust.

Intended to give a feel for everyday life in college, the program is for high school juniors and seniors. They live in a residence hall, enjoy meals in Foster Dining Hall, and attend classes in academic buildings. In the evenings they can choose to partake in a wide variety of common campus activities at assorted university facilities.

The academic experience, however, is the pride of the program. Each morning the students go to a class in their particular interest. In past years the program has offered such classes as Biology, Biochemistry, Chemistry, Education, Finance, History, Journalism, Political Science, and Philosophy. The classes are led by university professors, often teaching lessons that they would present in their normal college classes; the classes, however, involve so much more than lecture at the Summer Honors Program. In past years, Journalism students have worked through the week to produce a real newspaper. Philosophy students have learned the rules of logic to approach questions of ethics, aesthetics, and epistemology. Biology students have taken field trips to a local stream to explore its ecosystem.

“I loved every moment of the experience. I took classes in Communications Media, Philosophy, and Political Science during my years in the Summer Honors Program. The people I met changed me profoundly,” said Mara Iverson, who now is a student at IUP and will serve as this year’s head counselor. “Students, counselors, faculty, and staff alike helped me to realize that the Robert E. Cook Honors College would be great for me. Having attended the school for almost two years now, I realize that SHP is a two-week sample of exactly what the school is truly like.”

The Summer Honors Program this year will take place July 9 through 22. The $750 cost includes room and board, thirty hours of instruction per week, full evening program activities, and a Saturday reception for students, parents, and faculty. Limited scholarship assistance is available. IUP alumni teaching tenth or eleventh grade may nominate a student for scholarship assistance by contacting Kevin Berezansky.

For contact information, access www.iup.edu/honors or call 800-487-9122.