Austin Bath is a junior, a Biology major who is also minoring in Spanish. A native North Carolinian, Austin is — as his Park mentor and FLL Assistant Head for Student Affairs Susan Navey-Davis describes him — a “fine young man who has accomplished a great deal,” including a Park Scholarship and being recognized as NCSU 2013 Leader of the Pack.
The following is an edited version of an email interview conducted by FLL Lecturer Samuel Sotillo in which Austin talks a little bit about himself, what it means to be the 2013 Leader of the Pack, and on how his FLL minor is giving him the opportunity to become a more competitive applicant to medical school. Read the full interview in the FLL Blog.
Samuel Sotillo: First, could you tell us a little bit about your background? Where are you from? Where did you go to HS? What are you majoring in at NC State?
Austin Bath: I was born and raised in Greenville, North Carolina where I attended J.H. Rose High School. I have enjoyed growing up in Greenville, but I was excited to graduate and come to Raleigh for college. I am currently a junior majoring in human biology and minoring in Spanish.
SS: Why did you choose your FLL Minor?
AB: My dream is to become a doctor after graduation. I believe an education in a foreign language will make me a more competitive applicant to medical school, and more importantly it will better prepare me to serve in the field of health care.
SS: What opportunities within your FLL Program have been most beneficial to your education? Of these, which would you recommend to incoming FLL students?
AB: Over the past year I have become involved with an organization on campus called VOLAR, which stands for Voluntarios Ahora en Raleigh (Volunteers Now in Raleigh). VOLAR offers students the opportunity to volunteer and practice language skills simultaneously. In my case, I volunteer with the Open Door Medical Clinic where I help Spanish speakers apply for care at the clinic. VOLAR has been great to work with, and I would recommend that other students studying Spanish check it out as well.
SS: Not long ago, you were recognized as the 2013 Leader of the Pack, Congrats! How do you feel? What does it mean being the Leader of the Pack? Do you think that being a FLL Minor may help you to be a better Leader of the Pack?
AB: Thank you! I was really excited to find out that I was the 2013 Leader of the Pack. Each year, a “Leader of the Pack” is selected based on scholarship, leadership, service, and a campus wide vote to serve as a positive role model for the campus. The winner is usually announced at halftime of the homecoming football game. Being a FLL minor will better prepare me to lead the pack because it teaches me the importance of understanding and interacting with diverse cultures. On campus we have so many people represented, so as a FLL minor I feel better prepared to work with others from all walks of life.
SS: What community engagement opportunities or trip abroad related to your FLL minor have most influenced your professional vision and practice? Was your involvement with any of these community activities or Study Abroad opportunities based on a faculty/staff recommendation or course requirement?
AB: For the Spring Break of 2013, I had the opportunity to travel to Quito, Ecuador for a medical service trip through NC State’s Alternative Service Break program. During my time in Ecuador, our group established five different medical clinics where we provided free care for local residents. My Park mentor (FLL Assistant Head for Student Affairs) Susan Navey-Davis was the one who originally told me about the opportunities to study abroad. Without her, I might have missed the chance!
SS: What is the most challenging aspect of your FLL Minor? What’s the most rewarding?
AB: As I mentioned, I’ve grown up in North Carolina. The hardest part of a being a FLL minor is getting rid of my southern accent! I’ve found the most rewarding part of a FLL minor is when I get to communicate with native Spanish speakers. Although I still have a lot to learn, it is always exciting to put into practice what I am learning in the classroom.
SS: Do you have any piece of advice for fellow students who may be thinking about entering a FLL program?
AB: To any student considering a FLL program, I would say go for it! I believe being a FLL minor will be useful for the rest of my life.
SS: In a more personal tone, anything you are reading right now? Anything else we should know about you?
AB: Currently I am reading On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin. I know it sounds boring, but I am actually really enjoying it!
SS: When you think of the future, what gives you a sense of hope? What concerns you?
AB: Something that is of concern to me personally is the amount of people in the world today that are without adequate access to food. However, I also have hope because there are many efforts to alleviate this problem. At NC State, I have been impressed with all the work that is being done with the Feed the Pack pantry, the annual Stop Hunger Now meal packaging event, and through other events.
SS: What’s next for you after graduation? What are you looking forward to?
AB: After graduation, I hope to go to medical school to become a doctor. I will be sad to leave State, but I have truly enjoyed my time so far here as a student.
By Samuel Sotillo (FLL Lecturer/Webmaster)