Senior enjoys summer learning at Mayo Clinic

Published 6:00 am Sunday, October 4, 2015

A University of Mississippi senior recently returned to campus after finishing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at the Mayo Clinic.

Anna Grace Stout was selected for a summer program out of more than 100 applicants to study Biomedical Ethics Research in the clinic’s summer undergraduate program. She is majoring in public policy leadership with double minors in chemistry and biology.

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As someone who has spent a significant amount of time working and volunteering in Mississippi hospitals and clinics, it was amazing to work at a hospital with fewer limited resources,” Stout said.

She worked with students under a faculty mentor for summer research. Megan Allyse and Katherine Carroll were two Mayo doctors she worked with on two separate projects.

Stout said her mentors at the clinic were great instructors and they valued what each intern had to offer. She said she had never worked with people who were so accomplished, yet so humble and down to earth.

Allyse, who specializes in women’s health and reproductive ethics, said, “Anna Grace is a bright and dedicated student with the compassion and ambition to be a success in medicine, however she chooses to serve.”

Stout worked with Allyse and two other Mayo doctors on empirical bioethics studies around women’s health and ethics. Stout also was active with clinicians and engaged directly with patients in counseling and focus group settings.

Katherine Carroll, a medical sociologist at the Mayo Clinic, said, “It is a pleasure to have young, bright and talented students join Mayo Clinic for internship programs.”

“We certainly learn as much as they do,” Carroll said. “Anna Grace was really quick to grasp the fundamentals of qualitative research and apply them. She also has great people skills, which is so important as a qualitative researcher exploring sensitive topics such as lactation after infant death.”

Stout worked with Carroll researching women’s health and conducted focus groups helping to develop a codebook for her.

Stout said she learned a lot about professionalism through the Mayo Clinic. The clinic has extremely high standards for the employees to follow. Everything dress code to cellphone usage is stipulated and Stout saw the benefits each of these have when it comes to improving patient care.

Stout said her thesis adviser, Eric Weber, knew about her interest in biomedical ethics and told her about the opportunity.

“To apply, I had to submit my CV and a cover letter,” she said. “They then selected a few finalists and we were invited for a phone interview. After my phone interview, I got an email informing me that I had been selected to work on two research projects with two separate mentors for the summer.

“While there, I knew it would be hard work, and as someone who loves interacting with people directly, I did not expect to enjoy sitting in a cubicle doing research. I was very surprised by my love for the projects I was fortunate enough to work on.”

Over the summer, Stout fell in love with qualitative research and enjoyed observing her mentors and being able to work with participants daily. She knew the work would be hard, but, as a people person, she learned she loved being a part of the research projects.

“It was an entirely new experience,” Stout said.