During her time in the Murphy Scholars Program, Neuroscience major Makenzie Henderson ’23 used her Murphy Scholar travel funds to travel internationally for the Atlantis Pre-Med Shadowing Program. Through immersive shadowing and work experiences in Valladolid, Spain, and Genova, Italy, Henderson found a deeper love for the Romance languages.
Henderson spent a summer in Spain, sharpening her Spanish speaking skills while simultaneously gaining crucial medical observation hours at the Hospital Universitario Del Rio Hortega. Located in the northwestern city of Valladolid, Henderson found herself enjoying afternoon “siesta time” while looking out over Plaza Mayor. “My apartment was in the heart of the city,” Henderson said. “After finishing my shadowing for the day, I’d stand on the balcony and observe the people walking around and preparing for their evenings.”
The following December, Henderson was asked to serve as an ambassador for Atlantis and complete another shadowing program in Italy with Istituto Giannina Gaslini. Henderson spent a week in the coastal city of Genova, where she found herself surrounded by pastel-colored buildings with terracotta roofs, artistic churches, seaside villas, and abundant fresh seafood. With two semesters of French already under her belt, Henderson jumped at the opportunity to engage with a third Romance language while working in a pediatric hospital.
“Learning Spanish has helped me learn French,” Henderson said. “I wanted to dive deeper into my study of the Romance languages with Italian. My second goal was to investigate work-life balance in Italy by observing doctors and conducting qualitative research.”
“Four out of the six physicians I interviewed drew clear lines and boundaries between their work and personal life. My research and experience in Italy encouraged me to prioritize my well-being as I continue my education.”
The combination of language immersion, ethnographic research, and medical shadowing provided Henderson with a new perspective on her studies and future career. “If given the opportunity to have this experience again, I would take it in a heartbeat,” she said. This spring Henderson graduated magna cum laude with distinction in her major and Odyssey. She also received The Ellis Arnold Award for Outstanding Campus Leadership and the Citizen Scholar award for exemplifying the ideals of the Murphy Scholars Program. Henderson will be attending the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine this fall.