Lynsay Strahorn is a poet at heart with a passion for medicine. The first-year medical student says she has wanted to be a doctor for as long as she can remember.
"I don’t know what attracted me to the profession,” says Strahorn, a Dayton native. "I really liked my pediatrician growing up, and now, I really like working with kids. I like the impact that doctors can have in a community. I have also done well academically so I feel prepared.”
Strahorn, 23, is a graduate of Cleveland State University and Chaminade-Julienne Catholic High School in Dayton. She is former high school and college athlete, playing women’s varsity basketball and soccer while at Chamindae-Julienne and continuing as a soccer player on scholarship at Cleveland State.
A psychology and pre-med major at Cleveland State, Strahorn also had another unusual interest for a future physician: poetry.
"I have been writing poetry forever,” says Strahorn.
She entered the Poetry Out Loud: National Recitation Contest created by the National Endowment for the Arts and Poetry Foundation while in high school and was named the 2010 Ohio State Champion
. Her way of expressing herself also captured the attention of her teammates with her recitation of "Why We Play.”
Strahorn says the College of Medicine’s affiliation with Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center was part of the draw that first brought her to UC. She attended Diversity Interview Day
, sponsored by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and later returned for Second Look, an event designed to give prospective medical students an in-depth look at a potential school.
"Once I visited and really got to know the people here and saw how really close everyone is, it really felt like a great community,” says Strahorn. "I really had this vision that in medical school they would throw you to the wolves and tell you to survive, and it’s not like that here.
"At Diversity Day, I felt like they rolled out the red carpet, and it was nice, and then I came back for Second Look, and it’s still the same—it’s not an act. I came for orientation week, and it’s still the same way; again, it’s not an act. So, I am getting to know more people and starting to feel more at home. I am realizing that between the curriculum, the advisers and the administration and the students that UC really has a great community and everything that I need to really excel.”
Strahorn hopes there can be a marriage between poetry and medicine.
"I sure hope so because I don’t want to lose one, but I definitely think so,” says Strahorn. "I think one of the biggest things people keep talking about is that you have to maintain your humanity in medical school and still find time for the things that make you, you and the things that you like.
"For me, I’ve been an athlete, a great student, and I am into poetry and having that other side and having that escape and ability to be creative and express how I am feeling or what I am going through is really important for me to maintain that humanity and sanity.”
Strahorn is currently a reservist and after med school and residency will do four years of active duty in the U.S. Air Force as a physician.
Mia Mallory, associate dean of diversity and inclusion in the College of Medicine, says Strahorn is a welcomed addition to the Class of 2020—among the brightest and most diverse groups of incoming medical students at UC. Woman make up 51 percent of the incoming class while students from underrepresented minority groups are 15 percent of the class.
"I knew when I met Lynsay she was special,” says Mallory. "She embodies everything we want in a physician: compassion, intelligence, kindness and a strong work ethic. We are so lucky that she chose us and I am excited to be part of her journey into the field of medicine.”