Senior Karishma Batra ‘23 uses her psych major to set a path towards medical school
Senior Psychology major Karishma Batra is incredibly involved on SCU’s campus. In addition to co-founding the Rho Psi Eta pre-health sorority on campus, she served as the mental health chair for 2 years, providing all members with mental health resources on and off campus, as well as planning mental health events and discussions. Currently, Karishma is the student representative for the Western Psychological Association and plans to attend the conference in her role as a research assistant in Dr. Lang Chen’s Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience lab. Her current research in the lab is studying how different semantic associations are perceived in different contexts to show that our semantic knowledge system is highly dynamic and contextualized. In addition to this, Karishma also works in a lab at Wayne State University, which is in her home state of Michigan; in this lab she studies long-term drug abuse and its effects on the brain using microscopy and neuroimaging of the hippocampus. Despite such a busy plate, Karishma still finds time for hobbies here, including taking hot yoga classes.
In her own words:
"I have seen my psychology degree help me on a day-to-day basis when it comes to my current activities, especially as a research assistant, but also when it comes to understanding other students’ perspectives in my classes here at SCU. My favorite class at Santa Clara, Cultural Psychology with Dr. Koopmann-Holm, has really spoken to this.Growing up in an Indian household with parents who immigrated at a young age, my cultural background was something that was really important to me, and this class really helped me understand and connect with how I grew up. It was fascinating to learn about how various cultures differ and overlap when it comes to daily life experiences and how much of an influence it can have on a person.
"I see my degree helping me in my future plans an extensive amount as well. My overall career goal is to become a physician, and my main interest is in the specialty of Psychiatry. I am currently preparing for the MCAT and applying for post-baccalaureate programs before applying to medical school. Having a psychology background is something that I am proud to have as I have found that it helps me understand and connect with my peers around me, but also makes others feel comfortable as well. Having patients immediately feel comfortable in a healthcare setting is something that I truly strive for in my aspiration to be a physician. I can’t thank the faculty in the psychology department enough for being immensely supportive and generous in their help and for giving me unique opportunities and experiences in the field of psychology and neuroscience that have made me grow and develop as a student here at Santa Clara."