Parlee Center for Science and the Common Good

  • Melissa Hoff Portrait

Melissa Hoff

Class Year


My Major/ Minor/ Campus Organizations

Chemistry / Spanish / Parlee Center, Bonner Leaders, BAPS


Harleysville, PA

What should matter to me?

Medicine is what I’ve always been passionate about. Helping and healing others are core values that I have. I always attributed helping and healing to be spent inside of an operating room doing hands on work. However, after spending some time shadowing a doctor, I realized the importance of education about nutrition and healthcare. Before this experience and before becoming a Fellow, I didn’t think too much about what SHOULD matter to (things like education on this subject). In being a Fellow I strive to educate myself about healthcare access in the United States as well as around the world and to spread what I learn to others who might not know. As I go throughout my years as a Fellow as well as through life, I hope to continually ask myself what should matter to me and to always continue learning. 

How should we live together?

In wanting to help others, it has been imperative that I continually learn how we should live together. In order to help others effectively, it is important that we take into account different cultures and different backgrounds. This isn’t something that can be studied directly from a textbook, but comes from conversation and discussion. Although I have not yet completed my Parlee Center Internship, I hope to work in a doctor’s office primarily focused on providing care to recent immigrants as well as educating these new immigrants about the healthcare system in the United States. I believe this internship will broaden my understanding of inequalities in healthcare as well as provide some answers to the core question of how should we live together.

How can we understand the world?

While it is always important to get out and learn from others face to face, a classroom setting can be a great way to understand the world. Although I have not yet taken it, I intend to take a lot from Science and the Common Good (POL-336) and to have interactive conversations with other Fellows. Taking CIE-100 and CIE-200 my freshman year has allowed me to have immersive conversations and discussions about a wide variety of issues with many different opinions of my peers. This is very important to me as I believe having these discussions allows for the chance to see from another perspective, which is so important in understanding the world and those around us. 

What will I do?

I plan on attending medical school after Ursinus to pursue a career as a pediatric surgeon. Throughout my life I hope to be a part of the organization Doctors Without Borders to bring healthcare to those who do not have access to it in their countries.