For some students, it’s the homework that’s the headache. In Hope Bauer’s case, the headache is the homework.
The Saginaw Valley State University student has suffered from migraines for nearly as long as she can remember, and it’s that pain in part that propels her toward pursuing a career as a doctor.
“I had to go to the ER a lot,” she said of the migraines that began when she was six. “I wanted to be able to help people the way the doctors were able to help me since I was little.”
That motivation will help the biology major graduate with a bachelor’s degree from SVSU in May, and it will inspire her studies starting in the fall now that she’s chosen to attend Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine, one of four medical schools to offer her a postgraduate opportunity.
As a child growing up in Alpena, Bauer played with toy stethoscopes and faux syringes while many of her friends collected Barbie dolls. With her latest decision, Bauer is one step closer to achieving that lifelong goal of practicing medicine. Specifically, she hopes to work as an orthopedic surgeon in a community resembling her hometown.
“I would love to be in northern Michigan,” she said.
The faculty and staff who have watched Bauer blossom as an undergraduate predict she will achieve her goals.
“She’s a superstar when it comes to medicine,” said Heidi Lang, SVSU’s pre-health professions advisor. “She’s the full package.”
Sandra Nagel, SVSU associate professor of psychology, served as the student’s adviser when Bauer worked on her Honors Program thesis over the last two years. The presentation explored how the scent of lavender reduces stress in those suffering from the same sort of migraines she suffers.
“Ms. Bauer is articulate and intelligent, with an impressive ability to comprehend new material,” Nagel said. “Her communication and critical thinking skills will support her ability to function competently in the professional capacity her career goals will demand.”
Bauer has proven her value outside of the classroom setting too.
The President’s Scholarship recipient was a member of Phi Sigma Sigma, worked as a tutor for biology and chemistry students, volunteered at Saginaw’s Aleda E. Lutz VA Medical Center, and participated in an SVSU Alternative Breaks trip that sent students to mentor youths at a North Carolina YMCA.
Those experiences could have been very different had Bauer followed an initial path after graduating from Alpena High School in 2010. Originally, she was set to attend another university for her undergraduate studies, but two of her SVSU-bound friends and a campus visit convinced her to become a Cardinal instead.
“I am so happy (with the choice),” she said. “I gained a lot here. I really liked the close interaction and doing research with an advisor.”
It was an experience she admits isn’t easy to leave behind.
“I don’t know if it’s hit me quite yet,” Bauer said of the fact she’s soon to graduate from SVSU. “I’m just going into the unknown. That’s what I did when I came here, and that worked out.”