Grace Chen

Grace Chen

Class of 2015, America Field
Medical Student, UC San Diego School of Medicine
Grace Chen

Thesis Title: Ambiguous Authenticity and Culinary Connection: Joyce Chen's Chinese Cuisine in Cambridge, Massachussetts, 1949-1982

What Now: Medical Student, UC San Diego School of Medicine

Hist & Lit provided me with an intellectual community within which I immersed myself at Harvard. I came to college interested in medicine but with a love of literature and the humanities; I am so grateful that Hist & Lit enabled--and encouraged--me to pursue both interests. After graduating, I worked as a Research Assistant in the Division of Women's Health at Brigham and Women's Hospital. While my work was varied in its scope and nature, I read and wrote often--two skills I certainly developed in Hist & Lit. I then worked as an Affordable Care Act Navigator at Planned Parenthood. While working with families to approach complex and challenging situations regarding their health coverage, I was grateful for another Hist & Lit skill: digging and digging until a question seemed answered, and then digging some more. After a few years away from the Barker Center, I most appreciate Hist & Lit for its focus on understanding the human condition through distinct but overlapping narratives and lenses. This philosophical commitment and its accompanying methods have served me well as I've worked with patients (an experience not wholly distinct from conducting oral histories for my senior thesis). I am now a medical student at UC San Diego School of Medicine, and I hope to bring the ethos of Hist & Lit--this commitment to individual narratives--to a career as a physician.