Gabrielle Taylor Goodlin
Undergraduate Major in Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Coming into my freshman year, I imagined myself following a very science-based, pre-medical track that would land me in the medical field. I also wanted to continue studying the Spanish language and Hispanic cultures, an interest of mine that had grown throughout high school. But I figured I would get to that later in my college career. After several quarters of pure chemistry, however, I was completely overwhelmed by the cutthroat nature of the large introductory classes, whose sole purpose was to weed down Stanford’s pre-med student population. I realized that I needed to create balance in order to maintain my sanity, and committed to a double major in Biology and Iberian and Latin American Cultures (ILAC) during my sophomore year. Since then, I have been forced to maintain equilibrium between classes that fulfill pre-med requirements and those that count for ILAC in order to graduate on time...and it has been wonderful. The small, intimate classes offered by the ILAC department were a great change of pace from the larger science courses. The variety of projects and assignments that comes from tak- ing classes in different disciplines kept me engaged in my coursework and kept me from burning out.
I considered myself to be primarily interested in Latin American Studies due to previous travels, so it was a pleasant surprise when I took an introductory class on Iberian literature that was required for the ILAC major, and discovered how much I enjoyed the subject. I owe a great deal of thanks to my advisor, Vincent Barletta, for first introducing me to the beautiful works of Garcilaso de la Vega and Luís de Camões, encouraging me to write an honors thesis on the two, and then displaying a remarkable amount of patience during the process of writing said thesis.
I applied the balance I found in my academic schedule to my extracurricular one as well. For the past three years, I have worked with the Department of Sports Medicine to provide our varsity sports team with elite medical care that encompasses cutting edge technology and treatments. I also spent a summer in Ecuador volunteering through a rotation program that showed me the other side of medicine, in which public resources are scarce. For my own personal health and fitness goals, I joined the Stanford Triathlon Team, and competed in our collegiate conference. Shortly after graduation I will be attempting a half-ironman distance, with the hopes of completing a full ironman during my time off before medical school. Many thanks to all of those who contributed to my outstanding time at Stanford; your support carried me through the toughest of times and helped me shine at my best.