Anna Bahnson — Medical School Student

Anna Bahnson

Anna Bahnson, Covenant Award for Service Recipient, 2013-14 Academic Year

Anna Bahnson '14 majored in biology at Augustana and was a member of the Civitas Honors Program. She received a Covenant Award for Service for the 2013-14 academic year

Q. Tell us about your journey after graduating from Augustana  your career path (what are you doing now), family, education (graduate school), travel, etc.

A. After graduating from Augustana, I spent a year volunteering with Lutheran Volunteer Corps (LVC) in Tacoma, Washington, at an organization called L'Arche where I supported adults with disabilities at a Farm and Garden program. Following LVC, I started medical school at the University of South Dakota Sanford School of Medicine where I am wrapping up my third year.

Q. Greatest challenges and best rewards of my current role?

A. The first year and a half of medical school were arduous, with a lot of time spent studying and in the classroom. However, now I am in the clinic, seeing patients on a daily basis is the greatest reward. Each day I am amazed by the privilege patients bestow upon me by allowing me to hear the intimacy of their illness and witness the vulnerability in their bodies. It is an honor to learn how to care for patients.

Q. Favorite class or favorite professor at Augustana, and why?

A. One of my favorite courses was “Tropical Ecology of Guatamala, Belize, and Spanish Immersion” led by Dr. Craig Spencer and Dr. David O'Hara. I enjoyed taking my education into the field — trekking through the Guatemalan rain forest to Tikal, night snorkeling under the stars off the coast of Belize, and learning Spanish and Itza from native speakers. I also loved getting to partner with El Centro de Salud in San Jose, Guatamala. Students were able to shadow the physicians and nurses at El Centro, we were able to fundraise to bring medical supplies for the clinic, and together we held two health programs for children about hand washing and oral hygiene. I am still in contact with my host family and my Spanish instructor.

Q. What were you involved in that prepared you for the present and future?

A. I was active in Campus Ministry, New Student Orientation, Angelus Choir, Civitas, and the Pre-Med Club. All of these activities taught me how to be a servant leader, which was excellent preparation for my future.

Q. If you could offer an Augustana student some advice, what would you say?

A. One of the best gifts Augustana gives students is numerous opportunities to engage in service learning. I advise all students to take time to serve the community. A lot of time in college is spent thinking about ourselves: "What do I need to do to get where I want to go?" Taking a step outside of ourselves by serving others can help us gain perspective and re-frame our studies by thinking about how our learning will help us better serve others. That perspective helped me to stay focused and remain joyful both at Augustana and now in medical school.