Global Graduate, Rigel Bacani, 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: Chemistry and Biochemistry

Hometown: Surprise, Arizona

TU Activities and Leadership: Founding member of Women in ENS (womENS), Iota Sigma Pi, Phi Beta Upsilon, TEDx speaker, Gilman Scholar, Global Scholar

Study Abroad Experiences: Berlin, Germany/Budapest, Hungary (Global Scholars, Summer 2016); Copenhagen, Denmark (DIS Human Health and Disease, Fall 2017)

Post-graduation plans: Take a gap year and go to medical school

Who influenced you to study abroad?
I’m a first-generation immigrant to the US and my parents have always kept me in touch with my culture and my language. Doing the International Baccalaureate program in high school really helped me cultivate a more holistic and broad view of the world and felt that I needed to build upon that foundation in college. TU’s Global Scholars program and the CGE’s involvement on campus was really what sold me to TU in the first place. I felt that as a scientist and as an aspiring physician it would serve me and the people I will work with in the future to be able to empathize with them and understand them even though we may come from different places and cultures.

What was your favorite part of your experiences?
My favorite part of both of my study abroad experiences is the community that I was able to cultivate. Our global scholars cohort got along pretty well and it was great to explore the cities and make memories with friends and engage in discussion about our experiences and our multidisciplinary knowledge more candidly.

In Copenhagen I got the full public health experience by living in a Public Health centered Living and Learning Community, with people who became some of my closest friends abroad. We truly challenged ourselves and each other with our views and standpoints and learned a lot from it. We also had some fun activities such as learning to parkour, going ice swimming, in the name of learning more about how health is holistic and is not just going to the doctor. Our advisor who organized our events happened to also be my professor for my Health Strategies for At-Risk Populations class, and she is working closely with me to help me write my TEDx talk based on my experiences in her class.

How has studying abroad changed your mindset as a future ENS professional?
Studying abroad gave me a more multidisciplinary view of the world and how I fit into it. As ENS students and as pre-medicine students we can get caught up in the scientific world and neglect the impact it can have. Studying abroad really allowed me to be more of a well-rounded student and person. I’ve branched out in my personal interests and professional interests, and am considering pursuing and MD/MPH to further what I’ve learned about public health and to also be more of an emphatic healthcare provider,

What has Global Scholars done for you?
Global Scholars has allowed me to connect with peers in a new and interesting way. It has allowed me to engage in round table discussions about a wide array of topics. It also changed my perception of the world into a more critical viewpoint of how our actions have a ripple effect that we must be aware of. The program has allowed me to pursue passions that don’t necessarily fall into the umbrella that my major would cover, and make memories that will last me a lifetime.

Last remarks?
I am so grateful to the Center for Global Education and to the Global Scholars program for helping me achieve the international experience and education that I have had in my undergraduate degree.