Cassidy Bommer ’09
“Don’t be afraid to color outside the lines.”
“One of the things I cherish about my Kent Place years is the support I received from faculty and staff to explore boundaries. KPS fostered an environment in which no barrier was insurmountable. We were not just encouraged but also expected to find creative solutions to even the most challenging problems. This mantra has been a guiding principle for the last decade.
“When I was looking at colleges, I visited several prestigious institutions that scoffed at my desire to play a sport and join an a cappella group while taking pre-med courses, deeming it impossible. At Mount Holyoke, though, I found the support I’d experienced at KPS. The faculty I met didn’t see my competing interests as an insurmountable obstacle but instead as an exciting challenge. There was no guarantee I could do it all, but it wasn’t out of the question, either.
“Through my liberal arts education, I developed diverse interests, many of them outside my biology major. Wanting the culmination of my undergraduate years to reflect that, I chose to write my senior honors thesis outside of the biology department. My research, on perinatal programming for pregnant women in Massachusetts correctional facilities, integrated several of the topics I was most passionate about: women’s health, social justice, and public policy. I enlisted an interdisciplinary group of faculty to serve as my evaluation committee, and Mount Holyoke’s president agreed to be my thesis adviser.
“Now, in my final year of medical school, my ability to color outside the lines influences my interactions with patients every day. Creative thinking and problem-solving are two of the most important items in a physician’s toolbox. All who walk into a hospital or clinic come with a unique background, medical history, and social situation, all of which have an impact on their health. The textbook treatment for an illness might not be the best choice for a particular patient. In such situations, I’m often the first of my colleagues to present an alternative. Thinking outside the box is ingrained in me thanks to Kent Place.”