Liz Abeles

Class of 2018

Hometown: Washington, DC

What is your College Scholar project?
My college scholar research focuses on Chinese Integrative Medicine (IM), a practice that draws on both western and eastern medical techniques. Through anthropological and sociological lenses, I aim to understand the extent to which practitioners of IM are driven by cultural, historical and political forces versus scientific and biological advances.
In addition, I have been a member of a breast and skin cancer research team in the Baker Institute for Animal Health since freshman year, where I am currently performing histological analyses of mice mammary gland tissues. Through my college scholar project, I am complementing my study of cancer as a biological disease with a socio-cultural understanding of illness in China.
I am very grateful to have been named a Hunter R. Rawlings III Cornell Presidential Research Scholar this year.

What are your most important extra-curricular activities?
I always look forward to meeting with friends in the Running Club, and I am very excited to be training for my first marathon! Additionally, mentoring is an important part of my life at Cornell. I love meeting new people and learning what is happening around campus. Through mentoring, I am able to get to know not only the incoming freshmen, but also faculty and upper class students I may not have come across otherwise. As an A&S Peer advisor, A&S FYSA advisor, BEARS mentor, Peer Review Board member, and Student Assistant in the West Campus housing system, I hope to encourage students to join clubs and connect with professors and fellow students.

Talk about any summer internships or programs you’ve attended?
The summer after freshman year, I attended Princeton’s 8-week intensive Chinese language program at Beijing Normal University, which allowed me to advance one year in Mandarin, from 2000 in my freshman year to 4000 in my sophomore year. I can now delve into Chinese literature, media and ethnographic work in areas related to Chinese medicine and culture. This summer, I plan to launch an Independent Study to locate medical journals written in Mandarin. I will also volunteer at a medical clinic, where I will observe a local medical practice that offers TCM and western medicine.

What do you dream of doing after graduation?
I hope to pursue an MD/PhD.