Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good

  • CSCG1 Rebecca Keenan

Rebecca Keenan

Class Year


My Major/ Minor/ Campus Organizations

Major in Biology / Minor in French / Wind Ensemble and PASS Instructor


Somewhere, PA

What should matter to me?

A career in medicine has always been important to me. My medical service trips to Guatemala as a high school student opened my eyes to the importance of healthcare for everyone, especially underserved populations. It is this passion that inspired me to become a Fellow of the Parlee Center. Being a Fellow has challenged my beliefs on what matters to me and how we should live together, and has taught me to defend them with evidence in my Parlee Center courses. My commitment to healthcare developed further with my internship with the Institute on Science for Global Policy, which I gained through the help of the Parlee Center. It taught me the importance of politics and communicating science in all fields, including health care. Although my sense of what should matter to me has been greatly developed by my experiences as a Parlee Center, my core aspiration to become a physician has remained unchanged. I plan to specialize in infectious disease and work domestically and abroad in underserved communities in public and global health. 

How should we live together?

I have always felt a deep sense of obligation to helping others. My Parlee Center course on Global Health (POL-354) was crucial in revealing to me dramatic inequalities in access to healthcare on a global scale, and to convince me that addressing these inequalities will be a central part of my life’s work.

My Parlee Center Internship was conducted through the Foundation for International Medical Relief of Children (FIMRC). I was able to spend four weeks in the community of Las Salinas, Nicaragua As interns, we interacted directly with the community members of Las Salinas as well as neighboring communities, discussing topics such as prenatal health, diabetes, and malnutrition. We also had the opportunity to work with pediatric patients and shadow the clinic’s pediatrician. This experience confirmed my commitment to addressing inequalities in healthcare in developing nations.

How can we understand the world?

I am seeking to understand the world through my biology major and my Parlee Center Courses. Taking Science and the Common Good (POL-336) challenged me to consider the strengths but also the limitations of science and medicine in promoting human good. My upper level courses in French (FREN-252, The French- Speaking World) and in Politics (POL-242, Comparative Politics) have given crucial perspectives in culture and politics that will help me practice medicine abroad.

My research is in the laboratory of Dr. Beth Bailey. We are studying the physiological stress the heart undergoes when mice are subjected to exercise and pregnancy. This lab focuses on the adaptations of the heart when exposed to sustained stress. I also had a research internship at a biotech company called Genisphere. I assisted with cancer research and worked on improving the delivery efficiency of drug molecules to cancer cells. 3DNA was used as a delivery molecule to which the drug and targeting molecules were attached.  

What will I do?

I plan on attending medical school after Ursinus to pursue a career as a physician specializing in infectious disease and public health, providing healthcare to underserved populations both in the United States and abroad.