Katherine Wikholm: Recent Graduate to Begin Medical School at Georgetown University
Recent alumnus Katherine Wikholm is trading Loyola Marymount University's bluff-top campus for the U.S. capital, to attend Georgetown University School of Medicine.
Katherine, a native of Camarillo, California, says LMU played a large part in helping her land a spot at one of the nation’s top-ranked medical schools.
“I grew not only in academics, but in myself as well,” the biology major said. “Which is a real testament to the fact that LMU does a great job of integrating the ideals of a Jesuit education into the person – something you cannot really find at most universities.”
She says that LMU has the added benefit of small class sizes, close interactions with professors and a myriad of research opportunities, a rarity for undergrad science majors at most schools.
For example, last summer Katherine received a research grant from the Honors program to study the CPR education disparities among Spanish speaking farmworkers in Ventura County – and actually ended up teaching resuscitation techniques to the workers.
“The whole experience made me realize how important it is to empower people to be able to help themselves,” Katherine said.
She also took part in the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s research lab, studying bacteria phages and sequencing their genomes, the findings of which will be published later this year.
And lastly, she ventured to the Ballona Wetlands with an LMU professor to look at the heavy metal concentrations in insects, specifically moths.
Katherine adds that she was happy to have the chance to explore some non-science related interests through LMU’s core classes, dabbling in everything from guitar to theology to philosophy.
She recalls one theology course, called “Imago Dei,” or “Image of God,” that was led by two instructors, a liberal priest and more conservative philosophy professor, and how interesting it was to be getting two perspectives on an issue or piece of work, such as when the class read Dante’s “Divine Comedy.”
“Having those two very different voices in class really bred some thoughtful, lively discussions,” Katherine said. “And I just always remember leaving class really excited.”
Outside of the classroom, Katherine has been involved with a number of other pursuits, including LMU’s rowing team, Judeau Club and the Jesuit Honors Society Alpha Sigma Nu.
But Katherine says it is the people that make LMU such a truly special place. “At LMU, I’ve come across friends who I am inspired by and look up to,” Katherine said.
Following medical school, Katherine hopes to become a primary care physician, with a focus on family medicine.
As for what advice she might have for incoming Lions?
“Try a little bit of everything, see where your interests lie,” Katherine said. “Once you find what you are passionate about you will go a lot farther. And just enjoy this special time in your life – it goes really fast.”
Katherine spoke to incoming students at Preview Day 2015 about her journey while at LMU. Read her address.