For Lexi Hauxwell, a sophomore biochemistry major, the spring pre-session was the perfect opportunity to gain Honors credit, experience a new culture — and make sure she didn’t overload her spring semester schedule.
After learning about UHON 298H from her advisor and professor Erin Sayer, Hauxwell, of McCook, Nebraska, knew she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to dig into hands-on learning. Alongside Honors faculty, Husker students traveled to Costa Rica and learn about healthcare in the country.
“Being my first time out of our country, this UHON 298H class looked very daunting to me at first; but ended up being an experience I will cherish. I am always looking for opportunities to make the most out of my 4 years at UNL and this seemed like an open door to my future as a physician.”
While in Costa Rica, the group set off on both educational and extracurricular adventures. Mornings often started at Hospital Clínica Bíblica — a large, private hospital in San Jose — where they’d hear lectures from guest speakers and immerse themselves in the Costa Rican healthcare system. In the afternoons, students explored the city, with museum to coffee tours. At the end of the course, students presented their plan for a universal healthcare system to a board of judges and physicians.
“This trip was definitely filled with academic rigor, but also with laughter and ridiculous times in paradise,” Hauxwell said.
This pre-session course also coupled nicely with the work Hauxwell does on campus in the Crawford Lab where she researches Human Cytomegalovirus, a human herpes virus. Her work in the lab provides her experience within the virology, medicine and healthcare fields before graduation, something she’s grateful for.
“I feel privileged to be actively working in this laboratory environment as an undergraduate student at UNL, as we uncovered that medical research is lacking at all levels in Costa Rica,” Hauxwell said. “There are also few if any opportunities for students to work in a hospital setting before they are full-fledged physicians. My undergraduate research in the Crawford Lab has shaped my view of medicine so much already, and I still have so much to learn and uncover in the next few years.”
As she settles into the spring 2023 semester, Hauxwell leaves fellow students with a piece of advice: “For anyone who is thinking about going on this trip next winter, do it. It is worth the risk. This was truly the greatest experience I’ve had thus far at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln.”