Student Highlight: Pauline Bagatelas ’17


Hey guys! I’m Eimi (pronounced ‘Amy’) and I’m your correspondent for Student Highlight this year, a column dedicated to highlighting the scholars who attend this institution. While I’ve deduced that there’s no ‘typical’ Brown student, I hope to share a small glimpse into the wonderful and diverse individuals of this community.

Meet the roommate.

Pauline and I lived next to each other our freshman year. She and her then-roommate (also to be featured soon) adopted me when things weren’t going so hot with my own roommate, and the rest is history. We are now currently roommates and she is watching episodes of The Office in the room over as I write this blog post (we should both be asleep… it’s fine, college happens).

Pauline’s passion for medicine and global health are second to none. This summer, she worked at GHETS,  a non-profit organization committed to promoting health in underserved communities, and I actually didn’t see her for the first 2 weeks of the semester because she was in South Africa with the organization at a global health conference. Isn’t that awesome? I feel like such a proud mom. Graced with humility and poise, it’s easy to tell why she is a PLME student: hard-working and ambitious, but not at the expense of others. Perhaps her best quality is one that suits her aspirations of becoming a psychiatrist, and that is her ability to listen. It’s not something you find in many people, and I followed her example to listen to what she had to say.

Name: Pauline Bagatelas

Hometown: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Concentration: Neuroscience (also an 8-year PLME student)

What classes are you taking this semester? International Health: Anthropological Perspectives (ANTH 1310), Principles of Physiology (BIOL 0800), Quantitative Methods in Psychology (CLPS 0900), Advanced Spanish I (HISP 0500)

What do you do on or off campus? I’m part of Gendo Taiko, which is the art of Japanese drumming, a teaching assistant for The Brain: An Introduction to Neuroscience (NEUR 0010), and a Meiklejohn First-Year Peer Advisor. I’ve  recently started volunteering at Clinic Esperanza in downtown Providence, a clinic that serves primarily hispanic, low-income, undocumented patients. The clinic is staffed with physicians and does referrals, but it also helps the patients with understanding something like a bank statement because the volunteers have proficiency in both English and Spanish. I love my experience there because I get a sneak-peek into life as a practicing physician and also because the only language I use there is Spanish, which is great practice looking into the future of medicine and also for my study abroad program to Cuba next spring!

Favorite class thus far? Health of Hispaniola (PHP 0030) with Professor Timothy Empkie. The class not only revolutionized the way I now think about global health, but also reinitiated my interest in the subject. The summer after my sophomore year, I was applying to all of these research internships and hearing back from none of them, but I think about my work with GHETS this summer and how rewarding it was and it takes me back to this class. It was a great transition to taking other public health classes as well, and the professor was incredibly warm and engaging. His interest in the field of global health was contagious; you became invested in the class because he was too.

Favorite place on or around campus and study spot? I almost exclusively study on the 4th Floor (Quiet Floor) of the Sciences Library on campus. My favorite place is this off-campus cafe called Teas and Javas in Wayland Square. It’s nice because it’s close enough to campus in terms of walking distance, but also far away enough that you feel like you’ve left the college bubble.

Favorite Brown memory or experience? Getting into the Gendo Taiko group my freshman year, and then my first performance with the group at this international food event RISD hosts called Eat the World. I had seen them perform at ADOCH and thought it was cool but didn’t think too much about it until I attended one of their pre-audition workshops my freshman fall. I just fell in love with it and I knew in college I wanted to try something that was completely new and that I had never done before… this was it.

Why Brown? I already knew what I was interested in coming into college because of the British system in high school (I had to choose 4 subjects by the time I was 16!), and the Open Curriculum appealed to me because I didn’t want to waste my time with general requirements. My interests were in medicine so my decision ultimately boiled down to PLME and Northwestern’s 7-year medical program. The reason I came here was because PLME ensured that I could still fulfill my aspiration of becoming a physician without sacrificing my other academic experiences, like learning another language or studying abroad. It just wouldn’t have been possible as a pre-med student elsewhere. I honestly didn’t expect it to be this liberal coming in, but my experiences here so far have sensitized me more to pervading societal issues. Although I am an American citizen, I technically still identify as an international student; my previous interaction with American kids my age was just through family prior to college. My citizenry didn’t give me insight into American culture, and I’ve really appreciated being able to interact with domestic students and not just surround myself with international students. It adds another perspective to my life experiences.

Best mom dance move? The shopping cart

Know someone who should be featured? Shoot me an email at!


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