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Senior Spotlight: Brandon Vittetoe

English senior Brandon Vittetoe is interested in making a difference in the healthcare system and hopes to one day become a physician.

Why did you decide to become an English major?

Coming into UMD, I was torn between English and Biology. I loved English but wanted a career in Biology. I hesitantly chose Biology but decided to take English Gen Eds. I was almost content with this compromise but knew I was missing the real English experience. In my sophomore year, I decided to add an English degree. Since adding the English degree, I have TAed for three English classes and completed the English Honors Program. Balancing Biology and English has been complicated, but earning an English degree was the most rewarding and fulfilling decision I made as an undergraduate.

What clubs, campus groups, internships, outside of class projects have you been involved with?

On campus, I am a member of the English Undergraduate Teaching Assistant (UTA) Internship. I have TAed for English 101H, English 388V, and English 395. As the TA for English 388V, I help Professor Lyra Hilliard coordinate the English UTA program. Off campus, I work at Maryland Vision Institute and shadowed at Weill Cornell Medicine Ophthalmology.

I am involved in Phi Delta Epsilon and MEDLIFE. Phi Delta Epsilon is a coed international medical fraternity. MEDLIFE (Medicine, Education, and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere) is a non-profit organization that partners with low-income communities in Latin America and Africa to improve their access to medicine, education, and community development projects.

What is something you read during class that impacted your worldview?

Dr. Damon Tweedy's memoir, Black Man in a White Coat, opened my eyes to the United States history of racial disparities in health care. I am sorely disappointed with the extent that racial discrimination has affected medical care. This book caused me to reevaluate my perspective of American health care.

What skills (professional, creative, or other) do you think you've gotten from the major?

The English major has taught me more skills than I would have thought before adding it in my sophomore year. Excluding my experiences in the UTA and Honors programs, the English major has taught me how to read and write summaries, research papers, rhetorical analyses, narratives, poems, scripts, cover letters, memos, and resumes, among others. My favorite skill that the English major has taught me is bookbinding.

What is your dream job or career?

My dream career is to become a physician. Although I am unsure which specialty I would like to practice, I am currently interested in cardiology, neurology, and ophthalmology. I am now applying to medical schools, and my dream school is the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

What are you passionate about (or even curious about)?

It is a cliché, but my passion is helping others. I enjoy nothing more than using my knowledge and talents to help others. In fact, I want to become a physician because providing medical care is the most impactful way that I can transfer my abilities into positive change for others.