Health sciences major Lindsay Weigel, BHS’15, has shined in the classroom, but her Northeastern experience has also been defined by community service, global outreach, and campus involvement. Together, these extracurricular activities have inspired her passion for a career in health and medicine. Weigel was recognized at the Academic Honors Convocation with the Harold D. Hodgkinson Award, one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating seniors. She is also a marathon runner and has been a tutor, a teaching assistant in honors health courses, and a student leader on Alternative Spring Break programs.
Here, Weigel reflects on her impactful Northeastern experiences and what’s next after graduation.
You’ve been involved in a wide range of volunteering opportunities, both in Boston and on other continents. How has community service shaped your Northeastern experience?
Service was the reason why I came to Northeastern. I’m a Civic Engagement Program National Merit Scholar, and that really got me going. I didn’t know the city well, and this program introduced me to the many volunteering opportunities here. Once I got the ball rolling I realized how much I loved it, and these experience have made me who I am and helped me determine what I want to do with my future.
As Gandhi says, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” I’ve lived my five years at Northeastern through that message. I started with the Peer Health Exchange Leadership Council, a program that prepares college students to teach health workshops in the Boston Public Schools. I was involved for four years, traveling across the city and learning about the different backgrounds and health disparities that exist in these inner city populations. From working with kids more and more, I realized how I could expand my service to different venues.
How has service played a role in your co-op and global experiences?
I did global co-ops in Central America in Belize and Central Africa in Ghana volunteering in local clinics to help care for patients and training young students in nutrition and other health education. Health education is really lacking in these areas, and it’s so important for both primary and preventative healthcare.
For my second co-op, I worked with Boston’s homeless population, and since then it’s been the focus of my volunteering efforts in the Boston area and even my senior capstone. It came about when professor John Auerbach, who is the former Boston Public Health Commissioner, was teaching a freshman honors seminar called “Health in the City” and I was the teaching assistant. We visited different urban healthcare facilities in Boston as part of this seminar, and one night we went to the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program. The CEO gave our student group a tour, and I instantly knew I needed to work there. This place is amazing. These patients needed me. It called my name.
After the tour I asked the CEO if they had any health sciences student co-ops there. He said no, and I said, “Can I make one?” For my co-op I worked as a medical assistant helping coordinate patient care, and that experience has since grown into six Northeastern co-op positions at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. That’s probably what I’m most proud of from my time at Northeastern—developing this co-op for students.
In addition to volunteering, your co-curricular experiences include tutoring and serving as co-president of the Bouvé Honor Society and vice president of NU Club Running. What from these experiences stands out the most to you?
It’s a tough question. I think being well-rounded is key to success. All of these experiences have made me who I am. But NU Club Running was really my anchor throughout my five years at Northeastern. I’ve always been an athlete—I did soccer, skiing, and track in high school—and I need that physical activity to stay focused mentally. My team as well as the competitive races really kept me going and thriving academically and socially.
What will you remember most from your time at Northeastern?
I think Northeastern more than any other university that I know of has such enthusiasm and passion behind what students decide to do for their careers. I constantly feel an urge to try something new. Northeastern’s connection to the community, in addition to the strong academics, is really what makes it a special place. My professors and courses have been amazing, but when I think about Northeastern, I think about all the extracurricular opportunities that are offered, as well as the different community service opportunities and co-op experiences. Northeastern teaches you how to network.
What’s next for you after graduation?
In August, I will begin my graduate program at Tufts University School of Medicine. I’m excited to stay in the city and potentially do my rotations at Boston Healthcare for the Homeless. I’m excited about my program at Tufts because of its emphasis on primary care and mental health.