Sowmya Ravi moved across the country from Chandler, Arizona, to attend Case Western Reserve University—and once she arrived, she quickly found support that made her new city feel like home.
Part of her on-campus family came by way of Horizons, a medical mentorship organization that brings together medical, undergraduate and high school students to meet weekly to discuss evolving health care issues and exchange academic advice.
But as Ravi quickly realized, her small Horizons mentorship group of two medical students, one fellow undergraduate, and two high school students became about much more than just pre-professional advice.
Following the first Horizons meeting, her group ordered in dinner and just exchanged stories on their personal reasons behind pursuing a career in health care.
“It was really refreshing to hear my med student mentors explain their passion behind pursuing an MD,” said Ravi, now a junior studying nutritional biochemistry. “Hearing their experiences of research and volunteering abroad, I grew more and more appreciative of their motivation to improve the field. It was conversations like those that helped build a trust within our group for easy communication.”
Ravi decided to foster that family-like atmosphere even further as president of the organization. In addition to weekly meetings among the smaller groups of students from mc2STEM High School and Lincoln West High School, undergraduates and medical students, all members of Horizons come together once a month for a collaborative discussion on goals most pre-medical students share. Some topics for this year include: taking a gap year, the intersection between health and business, and research opportunities.
“Horizons consistently reminds me why I’m passionate about health care,” said Ravi, who is leading an organizational restructuring to enhance the role of undergraduates in Horizons. “A career in health care is definitely not a small time investment, so having a support network to remind you of the role you can play throughout the process, is why I’m so lucky to be a part of this program.”
Horizons isn’t Ravi’s only close-knit organization here at Case Western Reserve; she’s also a member of Alpha Phi, and has formed strong ties to her teammates on Case Kismat, as captain of CWRU’s fusion dance team.
“I could go on for hours, but to sum it up, the individuals on Case Kismat are my biggest role models. I have never met a group of people with so much determination and drive,” Ravi said. “I consistently see how hard everyone works both in and out of practice, and it always motivates me to push myself out of my comfort zone. At the end of the day, they’re my family.”
Bringing people who share a common goal together has been a key part of Ravi’s undergraduate career—and she hopes to continue doing that once she’s working in health care. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in public health and a medical degree, with goals of working in health care administration. Part of what intrigued her about the field was the inherent collaboration it breeds—and the power of strong relationships on a team of individuals with a shared goal.
Take the time to get to know Ravi better in this week’s five questions.
1. What’s your favorite place to grab a bite to eat in Cleveland?
You can’t go wrong with Barrio, but I’m also a fan of Mama Santa’s in Little Italy.
2. Where would you like to travel that you’ve never been?
The list is really endless, but I’d love to go to Santorini, the Greek island. Second on the list is the Maldives.
3. What is your biggest goal for 2018?
I’m attempting to learn about investing and the stock market, little by little. Throughout 2018, I hope to learn enough to invest on my own.
4. If you had to pick another field to work in or study, what would it be?
I’ve always wanted to work on the directing side of the film industry—producing, directing and just seeing the product come to life. It’s so intricate and there are so many little details.
5. What’s your favorite thing about Case Western Reserve?
I love how the university naturally fosters healthy competition—it’s always a healthy level, where my peers are pushing me to the next level. It’s through support rather than comparisons to one another. When I have a goal, I’ve never felt stunted. My friends have always encouraged me with positive advice: “You won’t know until you give it a shot. At the end of the day, you’ll earn something from the experience regardless.”