Jan Bian shares her passion for health, helping others

Jan Bian. Photo by Allyson Hazelrigg.

Jan Bian. Photo by Allyson Hazelrigg.

Who’s Who Among Students is a national award that recognizes students who excel in scholastic achievement. At Oklahoma Christian University, 125 students reached the Who’s Who list. In an upper level journalism class, students interviewed 13 names off of the list.

By Tori Garrett

Jan Bian, one of Oklahoma Christian University’s Who’s Who winners, spent her college years preparing to take her dreams of being a doctor to the next level after graduation.

Bian said she spent her childhood in Abilene, TX. When she was 14, her father’s job moved the family to China. She lived there for three years before returning to the United States in 2012. Bian graduated from Edmond Memorial High School in 2014. She is now a senat Oklahoma Christian University, where her brother also attends as a freshman.

On campus, Bian said she considers herself an active leader.

She serves as a co-director of Scientista, a club seeking to empower and support women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). In addition to her work with Scientista, Bian is president of Eagles Health Initiative (EHI) and helped the group form two years ago. EHI provides resources for students to improve their mental, physical and spiritual health. The organization is active in the Oklahoma City community through various volunteer services projects.

Bian will graduate in April with a Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology.

After graduation, Bian said she plans to attend medical school and hopes to eventually become a neurosurgeon. She said she is passionate about both health education and awareness, and she plans to be involved in public policy throughout her career.

According to Bian, she wanted to be a physician for as long as she can remember. Bian said medicine runs in her family with a mother who is a nurse and a father currently serving as the dean of a medical school in China.

Bian said she has already gained significant experience in the field of healthcare. Last year, she participated in an internship with the Stephenson Cancer Center at the University of Oklahoma. She also spent time as a pharmacy technician and spends her Saturdays providing free healthcare at a clinic in Oklahoma City.

What sparked your interest in being a biology major?
I’ve always really liked science. My mom is a nurse and my dad graduated from medical school, so medicine has been in my family for a while. I would really like to get into medical school and become a physician. All I want to do in my life is help people, which is really cliché, but a physician who doesn’t want to help people isn’t in the right profession.

What professional experience (jobs, internships, etc.) do you have that relate to your major?

I used to be a pharmacy technician at CVS, where I learned some drug names and how prescriptions interact with each other. Last year, I did an internship at the Stephenson Cancer Center, where I did research and got to work with some pretty prestigious labs at OU. I even presented my findings at the end of the internship.

Is there a specific area of medicine you want to go into?

I would love to go into neurosurgery, but I’m not sure yet. Part of me really wants to do surgery, but I also would really like to get into public policy. I work with a free clinic in Oklahoma City every weekend, which has opened my eyes to how important health education and health awareness is to preserve your health in general. As a physician, it’s important to promote those ideas and prevent diseases in the first place rather than treating the symptoms.

Why did you choose Oklahoma Christian?

We have a fantastic biology program. OC has one of the few undergraduate programs with a cadaver lab available for biology students, which helps a lot in preparation for medical school.

You have leadership roles in both Eagles Health Initiative and Scientista. Why do you think OC needs groups like these?

We saw that the call for healthcare-based service wasn’t really being answered on campus, so we founded EHI to be a place for that. We focus on bettering the mental, spiritual and physical health of students and our community through different volunteer projects and service to others. Scientista is important because women in STEM are still somewhat rare. It’s nice to come together as a group and discuss situations and issues we face and how to handle them.

Who are your role models, either on campus or in general?

I admire all of our female faculty in the biology department. I think as a woman in STEM, it’s hard to connect with your male professors as well as you can with your female professors. They have some great advice to offer about those situations and the connection with them is really special to me.

Tell me about who has had a significant impact on your life and why they had that sort of impact on you.

The sponsor for EHI is Jeff McCormack, who’s the dean of the College of Natural and Health Sciences. When we were thinking about starting EHI, we approached him and asked for his help. I’ve really enjoyed watching his leadership and how he interacts with faculty and hearing his advice. He’s very supportive of EHI and has dedicated a lot of time to make sure EHI is successful.

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