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Mahima Patel '23

The Health Science major talks about her year of online coursework, career ambitions, and life on the Cape

Mahima Patel '23

Mahima Patel ’23 took a total of five lab classes this academic year in anatomy and physiology, chemistry, and molecular biology — but never stepped foot on the Lasell University campus. Patel was one of many students who, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, opted to study entirely online in the 2020-2021 academic year. The health science major advanced her knowledge and completed coursework entirely from her home on Cape Cod in Falmouth, Massachusetts, thanks to flexible teaching and learning methods provided by Professors Kimberly Farah and Stephen Sarikas, and to her grandfather, who translated his 30-year career as a mathematics and science professor in India into a new role as mentor, tutor, and at-home support system. This summer, Mahima will work as a pharmacy technician trainee at CVS to continue her exploration of careers in health.

What was it like completing lab assignments at home?

Anatomy and Physiology in the fall and spring were actually really hands-on! Professor Sarikas wanted us to really understand the human body and gave us access to the Visible Body software. We were able to use dynamic 3D models to actually examine organs, hide structures, or inspect systems up-close. It really helped me understand things. For some of my other classes, we were given videos to watch lab procedures, or even joined our classmates on campus via Zoom to take part in the activity in real time. When you’re doing it yourself in the physical lab, you become immersed in the steps and can sometimes lose your grasp on why you’re doing it — so in some cases, it was beneficial to be watching versus conducting the lab, since I had more time to observe and understand the procedures and outcomes.

All About Mahima ... in 60 Seconds!

She lives on Cape Cod but doesn't like the beach. Her go-to coffee order is an iced mocha latte. She's a first generation college student. How much will you learn about Mahima in one minute?

What kind of career do you hope to establish in health science?

I knew coming into Lasell that I wanted to study in the medical field, and that whatever I wound up focusing on would require further education. Studying health science means that I will gain experience in the clinical and health professions without having to decide my exact direction as an undergraduate. At the moment, though, I’m considering a path in neonatal nursing. It takes a strong heart and mind to do, and a real emotional awareness of what parents are going through even though they aren’t the patient. I have always been a person who comforts others. Now, more than ever, we need as many people as we can to help in the medical field. The more minds and hands we have to collaborate with, the better.

Watch an online anatomy and physiology lab

Walk through the Visible Body software that Mahima used this year with Professor of Biology Stephen Sarikas

How did you stay involved with your friends and activities on campus while at home?

I like to keep busy. With me, it’s all or nothing … never in-between. In high school, I wasn’t involved with anything and that is one of my biggest regrets. I knew coming into Lasell that I wanted to change things up, which meant meeting new people and getting a different kind of experience of out of school. I am now part of the Lasell Leadership Program and the Honors Program, and am an orientation leader, Blue Key Ambassador, and a member of the American Cancer Society campus leadership team. Last year, I was the Class of 2023 treasurer and this year served as vice president. Next year, I’ll be class president. Plus, while I was at home this year, I realized that there were a lot of other students who were interested in true crime documentaries (Thanks, Netflix!), so I founded the Documentary Club. It’s a hobby of mine and just another way to connect students with one another.

Behind the Scenes

Join Mahima Patel '23 in her Falmouth, MA home as she shares more about her love for science and the special bond she has with her grandfather. 

Have you become closer with your family after a year of quarantining together?

My family and I are partial owners of the Admiralty Inn and Suites here in Falmouth, and so we also live at the hotel! Along with my parents and sister, my grandparents also live with us. They came to the U.S. from India right after I was born, and basically raised me while my parents were working. My grandfather and I in particular have a really special bond; I never left his side until I was 10. He and my grandmother were stuck in India until July of 2020, and every time we got on the phone with one another we’d start to cry. When I was little, he always wore this birthstone ring that I would rub for good luck. This year, when he was able to return to the U.S., he gave me the ring to keep.

In a museum about your life up until now, what might we see?

Oh, wow! There would be a lot of exhibit rooms: Definitely one for Falmouth, my hometown, and another for my family. One for food … I am that person who orders chicken fingers and fries at every restaurant, so that would be included. I would also have a whole room dedicated to India. I love my culture — it is probably one of the biggest aspects of my life. A lot of people can tell by my last name that I am Indian, but it is more than that. I grew up with my family’s influence, so the clash between that and me having gone to a predominately white high school made things hard at times. I will always be connected to where I come from and I never want to ignore it.

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