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By Heidi Hannoush, Undergraduate Intern

As a double major in English and Biology, Laura Crook values the benefits of interdisciplinary work. She credits her English major with improving her confidence as a writer and critical thinker and says the skills she has developed in the ECL Department add depth and dimension to her Biology major.

Laura believes her English classes have helped broaden her sense of perspective, too. With a possible future as a doctor, Laura has found that ECL coursework “is incredibly important in making you an empathetic provider of care.” Her study of the subjective experience has been valuable. “I’ve read several novels that have a medical focus, and I think that a lot of [biology] majors don’t get that opportunity in their classes. I do feel really lucky to have had that opportunity through my English major.”

UNC’s Health and Humanities courses have been one of the most exciting parts of Laura’s ECL experience. The classes encourage students to combine health sciences and humanities to engage in interdisciplinary thought. Within them, Laura finds the opportunity to study both her passions of English and medicine.

This past semester, Laura took a Health and Humanities course called “Medicine, Literature, and Culture,” in which she wrote a narrative based on interviews with her grandmother about experience with illness. She emphasized the importance of this project during the COVID-19 pandemic: “it was really special getting to reach out, learn more of her story that I’d never heard before,” Laura says. “I feel really lucky to have stumbled upon [the health humanities studies.]”

Currently, Laura works at a maternal and child health lab where she gets to put her interdisciplinary expertise to use! She is still figuring out what to study in medical school, but is especially interested in OB-GYN.

For Carolina students still deciding what they want to do, Laura’s advice is to follow your passions! “Take classes that interest you,” she says. Find classes that you are excited to sign up for and attend. “That’s exactly what I did with my English major,” Laura says, “I’ve honestly loved every single English class I’ve taken at Carolina.”

Portrait of Laura Crook
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