Alex Quan ‘21 on ethics in the medical field
This article was written as a summary of an interview between Alex Quan and Will Thompson during the Neuroscience Capstone class in Winter 2022. Will Thompson graduated with a B.S. in Neuroscience with a minor in Biology in June 2022.
Alex Quan graduated from SCU in 2021 with a B.S. in Neuroscience and minors in Philosophy and Art History. During his undergraduate years Alex was a research assistant in Dr. Lindsay Halladay’s neural circuits and behavior lab, which gave him an appreciation for scientific problem-solving and teamwork. He also served SCU’s Emergency Medical Services as an EMT, an experience that cemented his plans for medical school and interest in working with patients for the rest of his career.
About his time at Santa Clara, Alex writes:
“I think working in a research lab helped me develop a lot of skills useful in my bioethics and medical work: reading scientific journals, communicating complex ideas in an understandable way, collaborating closely with others in the lab, and finding creative solutions to problems. My experiences in an SCU lab shaped my approach to problem-solving and teamwork, and that I want to bring what I’ve learned through those experiences to others in my bioethics and medical work.”
Also passionate about the humanities, Alex chose to pursue a one-year Master’s Degree in Bioethics at Harvard Medical School during his gap year after graduation and while he was applying to medical schools; the application process (which took place during the Fall of his senior year at SCU) was challenging but incredibly rewarding, as Alex was able to revisit and refine several of his philosophical arguments from Philosophy and SCU Core curriculum ethics classes. His decision to pursue a bioethics degree was influenced by his experience as a Healthcare Ethics Intern at the Markkula Center, for which he received SCU’s Honzel Fellowship for one rising senior dedicated to ethics in the healthcare field. For Alex, a bioethics education is vital to the field of healthcare because medicine fundamentally involves working with people’s unique moral beliefs and worldviews rather than just technical skills and scientific knowledge, a conviction which has only grown through his time at Harvard.
Of his post-graduate experience, Alex writes:
“One of the biggest things I’ve learned in grad school is that people really stand out in the unique stories and perspectives they bring to the work. So understand that your path is already unique and take the time to develop into the person you want to become rather than just becoming the applicant you hope for an adcom to see you as on paper.”
After completing his Master’s in June, Alex will be attending NYU Medical School in the Fall of 2022, where he will undoubtedly continue his commitment to patient care and clinical ethics.