Make The Connection

February 27, 2024 | By Cole Hatcher

Ohio Wesleyan student Gia Hailu '24 spends a day shadowing a scribe at Hardin Clinic in Columbus. She will use the skill at Grace Clinic of Delaware, where the future physician has been volunteering since October. (Photo by Anna Sannes)

'A Lending Hand'

Ohio Wesleyan Student Expands Medical Knowledge Volunteering at Free Clinic

Name: Gia Hailu '24
Hometown: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
High School: Youth Initiative High School (Viroqua, Wisconsin)
Majors: Pre-Medicine and Psychology
Minor: Chemistry
OWU Connection Experience: Career Connection externship shadowing staff at Hardin Clinic in Columbus, Ohio, and ongoing volunteering at Grace Clinic of Delaware. Both facilities are part of Grace Clinics of Ohio and offer free medical care to anyone who walks in.

Volunteering with Grace Clinics of Ohio

"Grace Clinics of Ohio is a free ministry-based clinic. I started volunteering with them because their vision resonates with me, and they do meaningful work. We should all give back to our community in some form, and I love how Grace Clinics does its fair share.

"The institution represents the intersectionality of medicine and faith, which is very important to me. The providers and personnel ensure the clinic doors stay open out of willingness, kindness, and love, not duty. To me, this is a constant reminder of how far a lending hand can go. …

"I first heard about Grace Clinics from Dr. Chloe Williams '11. I reached out to her during my junior year because I wanted to connect with an alumna with the same interests as mine. During our conversation, she mentioned volunteering at Grace through her undergraduate years. She told me she did meaningful work, which stuck with me!"

My Role at Grace Clinic of Delaware

"Since October, I have been volunteering as a patient flow/greeter and optometry assistant. There was an active conversation regarding having scribes at the Delaware location, and I expressed my interest in becoming one. To serve in that position, I was required to shadow a veteran scribe at Hardin. Since I have completed my shadowing, I will start scribing at the Delaware location in March."

Nothing tops the feeling of going home after volunteering, knowing you just made a difference in someone's life while learning a thing or two for yourself.

Gia Hailu '24

My Favorite Moments

"Nothing tops the feeling of going home after volunteering, knowing you just made a difference in someone's life while learning a thing or two for yourself. Additionally, interacting with people from different backgrounds is always a joy. As an international student, I have learned to embrace the beauty that comes with diversity."

Lessons Learned

"I am a big believer that medicine needs to be delivered with love. Yes, medicine is about science, but medicine is also about being able to interact with humans and be there for others in moments of great distress.

"This experience has reminded me that the best physicians are not necessarily the ones with the prestigious education and impeccable scores. The best physicians are those who can combine their scientific knowledge with a compassionate heart and a lending hand to serve their community.

"This experience has also allowed me to connect the dots between my two majors, Psychology and Pre-Medicine. My background in Psychology has equipped me with tools to understand my future patients and those I will serve in the medical world more holistically."

My Involvement Outside the Classroom

"I am a student supervisor at the Office of Admissions. I also serve as a Psychology Student Board member."

Why I Chose Ohio Wesleyan?

"During my sophomore year of college, I was incredibly unsatisfied with the previous two institutions I had attended and decided to try out a third institution. I wanted only three things from my college experience – a liberal arts education, a Pre-Medicine major, and a good scholarship. OWU met all those criteria and became my third college. The third time's the charm, right?

"My biggest regret is not coming to OWU as a freshman because there is so much OWU has to offer that I couldn't hit in the two remaining years I had left of my undergraduate. Nonetheless, these past two years have given me the opportunities of a lifetime that have propelled me forward in my career aspiration and personal development."

My Plans After Graduation

"I am taking a gap year before I apply to medical schools. During my gap year, I plan to get more patient-care-centered experiences. I hope to broaden my experiences and continue to find meaning in doing so.

"I have been working closely with Leigh Mascolino, director of the Career Connection, navigating the career avenues I can take to get the experience I want during my gap year. She has been tremendously helpful with resumes, cover letters, and such. Dr. David Markwardt has also been helpful with all of my medical school-related processes." (Markwardt serves as OWU's chief pre-health adviser. He also is associate dean of the OWU Connection and a member of the Biological Sciences faculty.)