You are here

Alana Dopp

January 19, 2018
Tell us about your work. 

I am a currently a first year Medical Student at the University of Minnesota, Duluth Campus. I am interested in becoming either a family medicine physician or an OB/GYN. In my free time I enjoy exploring the hiking trails of Duluth and volunteering at the American Indian Community Housing Organization.

What led you to this profession?

I have always been drawn to becoming a physician but my undergraduate experiences gave me to motivation and passion to pursue the career. I learned the impact I could make as a physician while volunteering as an American Indian Patient advocate and conducting research on American Indian health disparities. I am grateful to have chosen a career that promotes life long learning and service to others.

What is your advice for current CLA students interested in a health care career?

My biggest advice to CLA students is to be confident in your journey. There will be a lot of other students applying to medical school that are hard science majors. Having other interests such as language and history can make you a unique and competitive applicant. As an American Indian studies major, I was able to understand the impacts of historical trauma on current health disparities. This knowledge is essential to my mission of improving healthcare for American Indian communities.

How did your participation in extra-curricular activities, volunteer work, research, or study-abroad opportunities during your undergraduate years help you prepare for your current role?

As an undergraduate, I was fortunate to have mentors and peers that encouraged and supported me. The advisers in the American Indian Studies department and faculty at the Circle of Indigenous Nations introduced me to my research and volunteer work. I was very fortunate to have worked with Dr. Tiffany Beckman on her research and to volunteer as an American Indian patient advocate at Hennipen County Medical Center. I also enjoyed being on the board of the American Indian Student Cultural Center and serving as the president of the American Indian Science and Engineering society.

What kinds of obstacles have you encountered in pursuing your goals, and how did you overcome them?

During my undergraduate education it was balancing school work, volunteering, research, student groups and hockey cheerleading practice. As an undergraduate I did experience failure of a couple exams and conflict among peers. I have found that open communication is key for overcoming conflict with others. To overcome challenges in coursework, I find it important to remember my end goal of becoming a physician. It is essential to view obstacles as a learning opportunity and to become more resilient.

Did anyone encourage or discourage you from pursuing your goals? How did you overcome that obstacle?

Yes. I was very fortunate to have encouragement from my advisers, professors, friends and family. I however did have some discouraging interactions with other medical school applicants. After these interactions I reminded myself to be confident in the choices I have made and to become the best applicant I could possibly be. I think it’s important to not compare yourself to others and to be confident in yourself.