Student Combines Passions for Rich NCC Experience

Sophomore, Integrative Studies with a concentration in Life Sciences
Sophomore, Integrative Studies with a concentration in Life Sciences

New Century College sophomore Meili Johnson is pursuing her dream to become a physician assistant and studying to do so through NCC’s life sciences concentration. While this may seem like a practical career choice with many employment possibilities, for Johnson, her decision was deeply embedded in her personal history.

Johnson said, “I was adopted from China as a baby with a heart murmur. I feel lucky to have been adopted and fortunate to have received so much medical care. In my own way, I’d like to give back and help others.”

In high school, Johnson volunteered at a local hospital and now hopes to secure a summer internship in the medical field, believing that work experience coupled with her academic work will help her achieve her career goals.

To help manage her demanding courses, Johnson is developing her own study techniques. Johnson said, “I’ve learned to prioritize getting to class and being an active learner. I’m learning how to find people in my classes who have common ground so we can form study groups. And, I am not afraid to talk to my professors and teaching assistants, to ask questions and help me reinforce different concepts.”

Johnson is also pursuing another passion and is taking courses toward a minor in art. Johnson has always found drawing to be a rewarding way to relieve stress. With encouragement from her parents, she has begun taking drawing classes and hopes to explore new mediums including painting, sculpture and photography.

She said, “I’m glad I’ve started taking art classes. My high school was small, so there was no opportunity. . . Taking formal art classes has encouraged me to become more serious about it though. Knowing I’m being graded has really focused my perspective.”

Originally from Blacksburg, VA, Johnson chose to come to NCC because of Mason’s proximity to DC. She has also become a Mason Ambassador, providing tours and information to prospective students, and an active member of the Zeta Tau Alpha sorority.

She is currently taking NCLC 391, Introduction to Integrative Thinking. Johnson is enjoying the class and appreciates the different approach to learning.

She said, “Our integrative studies class is new and refreshing. It encourages me to look at myself and my actions more deeply. By nature, I’m an externally-focused person, and this encourages me to be more reflective and think about the connections between what I study.”

Johnson’s days are busy, but she relishes the variety of experiences she has found at Mason. She said, “They say college is a time to explore, and I’m definitely doing that!”