Global Graduate, Austin Lignieres, 2019

The Global Graduates award is the premier award upon for students who represent The University of Tulsa as a “Global Force for Good”. This select group of graduating undergraduate students are distinguished for excelling academically, contributing to the TU campus community, and partaking in unique experiences abroad. This will be a four-part series featuring all four 2019 Global Graduates.

Major: Chemical Engineering, Pre-Med

Hometown: The Woodlands, Texas

TU Activities and Leadership: Alpha Epsilon Delta Pre-Med Honor Society (President), University Ambassadors (Chair of Training and Development Committee), Student Association (Associate Director), Kappa Alpha Order, Global Scholars (Selection Committee), Tutor, Undergraduate Research, Laureate Institute for Brain Research Undergraduate Assistant, St. John Hospital Volunteer, Tau Beta Pi, Mortar Board

Study Abroad Experiences: Berlin, Germany/Budapest, Hungary (Global Scholars, Summer 2016); Buenos Aires, Argentina (CIEE Public Health Summer Program, Summer 2017)

Post-graduation plans: Medical School

Who influenced you to study abroad?
Studying abroad has been something that I have wanted to do since before I even got to college because I was eager to travel, learn about other cultures, and study in a unique environment. After getting to TU, I saw all of the information through the Center for Global Education about how easy it was to study abroad, so when I got here I knew that it would be possible. When I joined the Global Scholars program, I met older people who had studied abroad and they played a part in me choosing to study in Argentina.

What was your favorite part of your experiences?
My favorite part about Europe was seeing the city of Berlin. I love history and I found it amazing how Berlin went from being a city in ruins after World War II to now being the capital of one of the world’s greatest countries. We visited several different sites where we learned about the city’s history and saw how the city transformed itself into a forward-thinking sustainable community.

My favorite part about studying in Argentina was my time spent completing a healthcare practicum in Mendoza. I had the opportunity to interview homeless people and the doctors who treated them. I had never interacted with vulnerable populations in healthcare, so it was eye-opening for me to learn about the barriers they must overcome in order to receive healthcare. For my final project, I wrote a paper in Spanish comparing access to mental healthcare for homeless populations in Mendoza, Argentina and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

How has studying abroad changed your mindset as a future healthcare professional?
My study abroad experiences, particularly the one in Argentina, have encouraged me to consider pursuing a M.D./M.P.H. dual degree when I go to medical school. After enjoying my experience learning about public health abroad, I knew that it was something I may want to incorporate into my career. I believe that understanding healthcare at the population level would make me a better doctor and allow me to better relate to the different kinds of patients that I will see on a daily basis. In medical school, I am hoping to spend time abroad, either through a research project or for a clinical rotation. I am very interested in participating in Doctors without Borders when I am a practicing physician because it would allow me to give back in a country in desperate need of medical care.

What has Global Scholars done for you?
Global Scholars introduced me to global issues and altered the way I thought about problems in the world. Learning about the global challenges such as population, resources, technology, and economics has heightened my curiosity for the world and made me a more globally aware person, which is important in today’s workforce. It also introduced me to the topic of global health, which I am hoping to study further during medical school. I enjoyed being surrounded by a diverse group of students who all had the same goal of engaging in thoughtful discussions and learning more about global issues.

Last remarks?
I am so grateful to have had study abroad experiences in college and I could not have done them without the Center for Global Education!