Mandeep Kaur, PhD Candidate in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 5th Year
This piece of art is very close to my heart. I made it when I joined the graduate school. When everything seemed overwhelming including the classes, the lab research, being new to US and its culture, I painted all my mind out on canvas and I call it “Finding order in chaos”.
Lauren Edwards, Masters of Public Health, Class of 2024
Zoo photography is a popular genre of wildlife photography that involves capturing images of animals in captivity. This experience has provided me with an opportunity to observe and photograph a wide range of species up close, without the challenges of venturing into the wild. Capturing the moment is an important aspect of zoo photography, and it requires a keen eye and a quick trigger finger. As a photographer with a passion for capturing the moment, I understand the importance of being patient and ready to capture a perfect shot at any given moment. Whether I’m photographing a majestic elephant or a playful monkey, my passion for capturing the moment can help create beautiful images that tell a story.
Viktoria Sterkhova, School of Public Health Professions
I took up painting again during the pandemic, a hobby I loved in high school. It has been a profound outlet for my creativity, and it gives me a moment to relax and be present. My favorite part of painting is the process- playing around with the colors, blending the paints, and troubleshooting my next moves.
The concept of light is a common theme throughout my paintings. This time, I was inspired by Pinterest mason jars full of fairy lights. It is such a simple and comforting concept. To me, it evokes feelings of hope and wonder, like the giddy feeling you get when looking at Christmas lights or watching fireflies twinkle in June.
As a Narrative Editor of Med Intima, I have the privilege of sharing the experiences and stories of members of the KUMC community. I’m so grateful for my classmates in Group 23 who sat down with me to reflect on their own journeys finding community during M1 year. Their vulnerability and courage are an inspiration to me! Above all, this piece seeks to remind us that we are not alone.
RYR1 encodes the ryanodine receptor—a calcium channel found in skeletal muscles which opens in response to sarcolemma depolarization allowing calcium to move from the sarcoplasmic reticulum into the cytoplasm. Those with RYR1 mutations experience central core disease—a congenital myopathy characterized by profound muscular flaccidity. To a young medical student, this phenomenon is ‘interesting,’ a label reserved for the few and far between cases in medicine when a clear cellular mechanism produced intuitive effects phenotypically. However, no amount of intellectualization can prepare medical students for the sight of a four-year-old intubated girl sitting completely still in her room—the only movement coming from her eyes as she tracks the new presence in her space. Students may find this sight so uncanny that they quickly scan the patient’s medications to check for paralytics, already forgetting what they’ve just looked up regarding the effects of RYR1 mutations.
Students are encouraged to push this unease aside and proceed with their duties, checking with the mother for overnight updates and performing a physical exam. They diligently collect data points for the all-important presentation: one of the many metrics by which students are measured.
My little sister spins around the room in her cracked, calloused bare feet, gloriously fanning out her wild, endlessly flowing curly hair – the envy of virtually all the many young women we’ve had work in our home to help care for her. Nobody dances like Bianca. Now into her 30s, Bianca still needs help going to the bathroom and cleaning herself. Bianca cannot talk, other than rudimentary “ma’s” and “ta’s” if she wants something like a car ride or a piece of candy. She may scream or cry at any time, anywhere between a disconcerting slow boil or a flat-out tantrum, or bang her hands on the table and exhibit other such self-injuring behavior without warning. Bianca has no concept of social norms – of danger when crossing a street, of knowing when to be quiet and be calm in public, of suppressing her inner urge to pinch us or lash out at us when she feels frustrated. Bianca has no hope of independence, not even close. She will need someone taking care of her 24/7 for the rest of her life. I grew up in a household that spoiled Bianca rotten, that revolved around giving her the most stable environment possible, of putting a numbing bandaid on that down-the-road, bleeding fear our family has always had of what would happen to her when my parents were gone.
The blizzard smothered the squeaky old subway as it slowly pressed toward the station. Nighttime had arrived, and the darkness was brightened only by a bit of shimmer from the ice and snow that stubbornly prevailed against any shovel. I rested against my cold, hardened seat, ready to enter this frosty wonderland with a new sense of excitement; I was going somewhere new. Comfortable in my alone-ness, I was quickly awakened from this slumber as I exited the station. I was lost in the city with every street sign covered in a white blanket that chilled me to my core.
Not long later, a shadow made itself out to be a friendly face, a fellow lost traveler. “Where’s the door?!” she shouted, her voice rising above the gusts. Traversing together, we found not only the door but also a piping hot pizza waiting for us inside; we had finally arrived. Thawed by the pepperoni and the conversations of those around me, I warmed up to folks who would become close friends—the kind that have you over for dinner and make their home your home—and experienced the deepest joy as I opened my life up to these new people.
I love theater. I participated in my high school’s drama club, and each year I go see a few plays and musicals in KC. There is something magical that happens on stage—human ingenuity creates dazzling sets, talented actors and actresses draw me into their worlds with wonderful performances, and beautiful music ferries me through the show. And when I was asked to come back to my high school to teach the tech crew how to operate the sound and light boards, of course I had to help.
Returning to theater gives me a chance to reflect on what lessons and parallels I can draw. Most salient to me is the process by which characters are made legible (made comprehensible) on stage, and how I make myself legible to others by playing a script that others can understand based on notions of familiarity and acceptability. For example, in the case of many members of my former high school’s drama club, they must make themselves and their lives legible in a limited range of forms to access scholarships and better education on their college essays. I play the part of a medical student; therefore, I must play it adequately by exuding confidence and competence. If I were to falter at playing this part, I would expect some derision from my peers based on previous experiences of failing at playing my roles appropriately.
I started doing paper quilling a couple of years ago. Quilling uses rolled, thin strips of paper to make 2D or 3D art. I really enjoy making miniature designs and 3D figurines and objects. In this picture, the fairies, table, teapot, and teacups are all made solely of paper and glue. For scale, the teacups are less than 4mm tall.
I enjoyed fashion and accessorizing from a young age. As my baby became more curious and dextrous, he began to pull and chew my necklaces. I was worried about his safety, as well as potential damage to my necklaces, but was sad at the prospect of no longer being able to wear one. I combed Etsy looking for baby and toddler-friendly necklaces and couldn’t find anything that I felt fit my style and didn’t look cheesy. I found a company that sells nontoxic silicone beads designed for chewing, and started designing my own kiddo-friendly necklaces, also known as “chewelry.” I started just making pieces for myself, then friends, then started a small shop on Etsy, ChewtiqueUnique. You can also follow ChewtiqueUnique on Instagram to see a variety of the designs I have made.