Class of 2019’s Ma’at Hembrick is sweeping both oars through post-grad waters and heading in the direction of medical school – perhaps even through the Air Force. Originally from Carson, California, Ma’at aims to become an OB/GYN who treats low-income, minority women while challenging the barriers and obstacles underserved populations encounter when seeking adequate health care.
“My time at LMU really grounded me in the importance of ethics, community, and service,” Ma’at, who earned a degree in Health and Human Sciences, said. “I hope to inform my work and draw inspiration from these LMU values—creating a healthcare environment where women who often go unheard have a voice and truly feel that they’ve been helped.”
Awarded LMU’s 2019 Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sports Scholar Award for Women’s Rowing, Ma’at’s voice has always resonated, but she says that LMU gave her the tools and opportunities to amplify it, such as being featured front and center in a marketing campaign LMU Athletics publicly promoted last spring.
“Seeing myself and just myself, a black girl, spotlighted positively on a large-scale outdoor media banner was not something I saw growing up,” Ma’at said. “To have that sort of representation was both impactful and very indicative of where LMU’s values lie.”
LMU’s Jesuit spirit, and particularly its focus on service and social justice, is what originally drew Ma’at to the bluff. But once a student, this LMU Lion soon discovered an array of reasons to roar, including the many opportunities for undergraduate research.
Ma’at says she worked alongside Health and Human Sciences Professor, Dr. Heather Tarleton, training her focus on gynecological cancer survivors and their quality of life following treatment. The fruits of the pair’s combined research ultimately inspired the subject matter of Ma’at’s LMU Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP)project, in which she explored why women from lower socioeconomic sectors tend to get cancer much earlier when compared to their wealthier counterparts.
Additionally, Ma’at completed the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center/LMU Summer Research and Observership Program the summer prior to her senior year. The highly competitive program afforded Ma’at plenty of clinical experience and the chance to collaborate with residents on research projects.
“My time at LMU definitely taught me how to maximize my opportunities,” Ma’at said. “I want to bring everything LMU taught me—how to be a well-rounded individual, an ethical researcher, and more—back to the community.”
As for what advice Ma’at has for future Lions?
“Don’t be afraid of change – it’s inevitable,” she said. “And try to leave campus with people knowing who you are through the positive impact you’ve made.”