Update: Rehlander graduated from the IU School of Medicine and is now a plastic surgery resident at Michigan State in Grand Rapids.
Being named IUPUI’s Most Outstanding Female Student may have caught Rachel Rehlander off guard, but spend some time with this accomplished biology major and you’ll soon realize that’s a rare occurrence. Since early high school when she discovered a passion for science, Rehlander has charted a course to become a primary care physician. Fresh from a successful career at IUPUI, she’s poised and ready to begin medical school this fall, joining several other first-year Indiana University School of Medicine students at one of the school’s satellite campuses at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend.
Learn more about Rachel through this Q&A.
What have been your most valuable learning experiences during your time at IUPUI?
I really support the idea behind RISE to the IUPUI Challenge, an initiative encouraging students to include Research, International experience, Service learning and Experiential learning into their study. These are the types of experiences I enjoy talking about and why I think IUPUI is so outstanding. The opportunities I’ve had to work in a research lab, study abroad in Greece and volunteer through Alternative Spring Break combine education with practical experience and fun. They have been a valuable part of my education here, and experiences I’ll never forget.
Who have been your mentors here at IUPUI?
I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great people on campus. As far as mentors, I’d have to say Dr. Kathleen Marrs in the School of Science has had a great influence on me. She was my first-year biology instructor and is also the advisor for the Biology Club, which I’ve been involved in for the past four years. She’s been very supportive of my career and recently wrote a letter of recommendation for me for medical school. I also worked in Dr. James Marrs’ (Kathleen’s husband) research lab, which gave me a chance to learn from him as well.
Describe your experience with undergraduate research and its impact on you.
As an undergraduate researcher in Dr. James Marrs’ lab, I helped study the effects of fetal alcohol syndrome using the zebra fish model. Basically, the research is designed to analyze the effect of ethanol on embryos and cell division. It’s a very interesting study, and I learned a great deal, not only from Dr. Marrs, but from the Ph.D. and graduate students in his lab.