Meet the Class of ‘24’s Ava Hollis

Ava Hollis

Ava Hollis will graduate this year with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience and will continue on to complete a master’s in public health through the UVA School of Medicine’s 3+1 program that lets students begin graduate level studies as undergraduates, allowing them to complete both degrees in four years.

“I’m really interested in science and research, but more specifically how we make scientific research less partisan,” Hollis said.  “How do we get to a point where we can encourage everyone to see the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health as institutions that really want to help people?  That’s my goal in public health: to help people see the value in research and scientific findings and to find ways to share research better and make it more accessible to the public.”

Like a growing number of students of the sciences who are taking the initiative to gain research experience as undergraduates, Hollis said her work in the School of Medicine’s Lukens Laboratory studying the role of the immune system in neurological disease has been a highlight of her time at UVA.  The people she’s met there have been like a second family, Hollis said.

“It’s a great culture, but it’s also a place where I can be creative and learn new things while being surrounded by a lot of patient people who want to help,” Hollis said.

Hollis came to UVA with the goal of getting into medical school, but her experience as an undergraduate researcher and the opportunities she’s had to get a head start on graduate school have expanded her idea of the opportunities that are available. Her long-term goal now is to complete both a medical degree and a Ph.D.  She values the practical nature of the medical degree, but research has also shown her the appeal of discovering new knowledge.

“Having the opportunity to do both,” Hollis said.  “That’s the dream for me.”

 

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