Humanistic Studies Certificate Student Rachel Sturley Explores Illness Through a Literary Lens

May 21, 2023
Rachel Sturley talking to her adviser Sturley (left) and her adviser, Maria DiBattista, enjoy a moment outside McCosh Hall, home of the English department. DiBattista believes Sturley’s deep study of literature and art will make her a better physician. Photo by Kevin Birch

Rachel Sturley ’23, an English major bound for medical school, focused her senior thesis on how writers and artists at the turn of the 20th century portrayed their own experiences with illness on the page and on the canvas.

Her thesis, which was advised by Maria DiBattista (English and Comparative Literature), is titled “‘The Body Intervenes’: Narrating Illness at the Turn of the 20th Century.”

Sturley paved the runway toward her senior thesis — and completed all her pre-med requirements — by taking two humanities classes and two STEM classes every semester. In addition to her English major, she is pursuing certificates in gender and sexuality studies, and in the Humanities Council’s Program in Humanistic Studies.

Sturley is also a member of the Behrman Undergraduate Society of Fellows, a group of juniors and seniors who are committed to the study of humanistic inquiry.

She plans to take a two-year gap before medical school to attend Columbia University’s master’s program in narrative medicine.

Read the full story on the University homepage.

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