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Jonathan C. Thomas

Title of Program: Healthcare and Community Transformation in the Middle East

E-mail Address: jthom166@vols.utk.edu

Hometown: Jellico, TN

Year: Sophomore

Anticipated Graduation Date: May 2019

Description of Program: The goal of my program is to prepare me for practicing culturally relevant medicine in the Middle East. In addition to fulfilling my pre-med requirements, I will also be studying social work and public health to more holistically care for the community. The program also has a strong emphasis on anthropology, Arabic, and Middle Eastern studies to give me a better understanding of the region. While my general academic studies will be in the Middle East, I hope to focus on the Kurdish people by either pursuing independent study or creating an emphasis in classes. Finally, the program incorporates the Leadership Minor so that I can learn how to better integrate all of these aspects in real life.

Departmental Emphases: Social Work, Public Health, Arabic, Anthropology, Leadership

Faculty Mentor: Primary – Dr. Michael Handeslman, Secondary – Dr. Paul Erwin

Plans after graduation (career, graduate/professional school, etc.): After graduation, I hope to receive a Fulbright or another national scholarship to study and do research on healthcare in the Middle East. I then plan on attending medical school in the United States and possibly pursue a fellowship in Obstetrics or Infectious Disease. I will then work with and IGO, such as Doctors without Borders, to begin practicing medicine in the Middle East. After I have established enough connections, I hope to settle down and start my own practice for the poor in Northern Iraq.

Other Academic Interests: I am interested in the business aspect of owning your own practice and might enroll in classes with the Haslam Graduate School of Business.

Study Abroad: Although I have not studied abroad yet, I hope to travel to Jordan to study refugees and healthcare while working on my Arabic proficiency. I also hope to get the Critical Languages Scholarship or the Boren Scholarship to study abroad for longer periods of time.

Research Experiences or Internships:

  • Summer 2015: Medical Explorations Summer Internship at UT Medical Center

Part-time employment; Hobbies; Campus Clubs/Activities:

  • January 2016-Present: Undergraduate Student Assistant for the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships
  • Fall 2016-Present: Secretary of TEDxUTK, Head of Logistics and Production Committee, Secretary for exp865
  • Fall 2016-Present: Student Leader for Intervarsity Christian Fellowship: Multiethnic Chapter

Additional Information: When I am not studying or running to meetings, I love to be adventurous. I love hiking on weekends, I boulder at the Vol Wall, and love to go cliff jumping. I also am an avid pianist and I love jamming with friends or going and listening to the symphony. I am also engaged in reconciliation on campus and it is my dream to see the campus ministries less segregated and more welcoming to minorities.


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