Sofia Hu

Class of 2017

Hometown: Rockville, Md.

What is your College Scholar project? 
I'm studying menstrual pain — how it’s treated, accommodated for, felt, perceived, mythologized, and talked about for my project, "Menstrual Pain as Clinical Entity and Female Identity." Primary dysmenorrhea is defined as cramping pain, during or before menstruation, in the absence of any pelvic pathology or other organic diseases. As a clinical entity, primary dysmenorrhea straddles the line between affirming and rejecting the patient’s experience. While a legitimate and commonly-used medical category, primary dysmenorrhea by definition denies that the pain has an anatomical or physiological cause. The case of primary dysmenorrhea reveals a diversity of (often opposing) normativities at the biological, social, and individual levels. These different normativities simultaneously legitimize, delegitimize, normalize, and pathologize menstrual pain, with the medical establishment — and society writ large — ill-equipped to adequately address the nuances of menstrual pain. Is menstrual pain normal or pathological, and by what standards? And what does that say about the female identity? My thesis is currently entitled “Menstrual Pain as Clinical Entity and Female Identity.”

I am honored to be a Tanner Dean’s Scholar, a Meinig Family Cornell National Scholar, a Cornell Public Service Scholar, and a recipient of a Telluride Residential Scholarship.

What are your most important extra-curricular activities?
I serve as the editor in chief of The Cornell Daily Sun and a researcher at Chris Schaffer’s and Nozonmi Nishimura’s biomedical engineering lab. For the past three years, I’ve volunteered at the Ithaca Free Clinic downtown. Also, I am a dedicated member of the Telluride House. 

Talk about any summer internships or programs you’ve attended? 
I’ve spent the past three summers in Ithaca, conducting neuroscience research. 

What do you dream of doing after graduation? 
We'll see — stay tuned!