Undergraduate Medical Student
Medicine (Undergraduate entry), Year 3
Tell us a bit about your background
My path to studying medicine was definitely a bit rocky! I’m disabled, with both physical and visual impairments, have a guide dog and sometimes need to use a wheelchair. After a very difficult time with regards to accessibility in secondary school, resulting in a disability discrimination tribunal, I went to a residential college specifically for visually impaired students to do my A-levels. Although accessibility was no longer an issue, they had never had anyone apply for a medical degree, anywhere, or apply to Oxbridge, nor did they have any science teachers at the time I first started. They were wonderfully accommodating however and after a bit of a battle to get accessible entrance exam papers, I had interviews at 4 medical schools including Oxford – followed by 4 offers! People tend to assume that disabled people won’t be doctors, especially those with visual impairments – there’s even a joke in the blind community about how we will ‘never be neurosurgeons!’. Well, I’m not really planning on being a neurosurgeon anyway, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a doctor. It’s definitely too early to say exactly which field I’d like to go into, but I’m very interested in cancer sciences, genetics, as well as general paediatric medicine.
What is the most meaningful or most interesting part of your studies?
This year I’ve been working in a biochemistry lab focusing on characterising aspects of mitosis seen with certain mutations associated with melanoma, as part of my FHS studies. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy research, and hope that I might be able to be do some research alongside clinical practice in the future.
Can you tell us about something you've done, contributed to that you're most proud of?
I’ve been a guest lecturer in Patient Identity seminars as part of the Behavioural Sciences Module for Graduate Entry medical students at Oxford, talking about the importance of the disability identity, including disabled patients and disabled medical staff.
What changes would you most like to see in the Medical Sciences in the next 100 years?
It’s been an incredible 100 years for women in medical sciences, and I hope to see this continue and for women to continue to break barriers in medicine! But this diversification must include women from all backgrounds, and personally I really hope to see more disabled medics in the future.