Ya Zhou is a second year student at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore, MD. She’s the proud sister of three younger siblings and the grateful daughter of two loving parents. After spending the summer before medical school roaming around southeast Asia with her best friend, Ya discovered her love for traveling, exploring, and meeting new people!
She was delighted to be selected as a Kean Fellow, which gave her the opportunity to do meaningful research in beautiful Burma. Like many second year students, she’s not quite sure what she wants to do after graduation, but she hopes that she’ll learn and enjoy her work every day.
Project: "The Role of Anti-Glycan Antibodies in Immunity to Schistosomiasis"
June 1, 2014 - August 2, 2014
What does the Kean Fellowship mean to you?
I was really grateful and excited to hear good news from the American Society for Tropical Medicine and Health. It meant that I could do research in Yangon, which I had prepared for for a couple months with Dr. Plowe at the University of Maryland. I think the fellowship offers globally-minded students like myself opportunities to explore medicine, either on the clinical or research side, which will go a long way in our training as future physicians and citizens of the global community.
What do you anticipate learning?
I have already returned from my fellowship in Burma, so I can attest to my development as a researcher. Being in a new environment, I learned to be adaptable to the capabilities and rhythm of the lab. It was also important to be independent, to think ahead to where the project will be going, especially because my time there was limited. I was also able to appreciate the Myanmar healthcare structure, which is vastly different from that of the U.S.
What interests you about tropical medicine and what problems are you interested in solving?
Although tropical medicine usually refers to diseases and other health issues that primarily affect developing areas, I think it's still paramount for doctors and other health professionals in the U.S. to be involved and educated--the recent Ebola outbreak is evidence of that. Health has a huge impact on overall development of the individual and the greater community, and a lot of the poverty and other social justice issues in the world can be alleviated with better health resources and education. I would really enjoy to be a part of that process as a medical student and future doctor, whether it's on the ground as a health worker and/or helping to develop health policies.