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Student Spotlight: Abbey Stoltenburg

For this month's student spotlight, we are featuring a student who recently participated in Wisconsin Express. Learn more about Abbey's involvement with Scenic Rivers AHEC and her plans for the future.

Where are you originally from?

New Berlin, WI

Where did you attend/or currently are attending school?

University of Wisconsin-Madison

What are your future career/school goals?

I am still exploring options, but I am interested in possibly becoming either a psychiatrist or neurologist in the future.

What was your first experience with AHEC and what did you learn from it?

My first experience with AHEC was the Wisconsin Express immersion program in Boscobel. Through this experience I learned a lot about barriers in both prison and rural Wisconsin healthcare. Surprisingly, I learned that a lot of the same healthcare issues arose in prisons as they do in ordinary settings. From this experience, I have gained empathy for both inmates and the healthcare providers which serve this unique population. Healthcare providers do not get enough credit for the hard work they do in this setting. This program allowed my group to shadow the nursing staff in the Boscobel Max Security Prison and we were able to experience what a "typical" day looked like. Although we did not see anything too intense, I was able to see that this was a high stress environment for healthcare providers. There are few people who would be able to handle this population appropriately and it was amazing to be able to see how the Boscobel prison healthcare staff handled everything. Lastly, I learned that there is a growing need for mental healthcare providers in rural Wisconsin.

Do you have plans to take advantage of AHEC programs in the future?

I plan to participate in the alumni AHEC program in the future. I will look into the internship program as well.

What advice would you give to younger students starting to navigate their future in a health care career?

My advice would be to just stay open to new ideas and opportunities that come your way. If an opportunity sounds interesting to you then go for it. In high school, I honestly didn't think I would be interested at all in a health care career, but in college I was open to the possibility of exploring all of my options. If I had closed myself off to all aspects of healthcare I would not have had the chance to participate in this amazing experience. I wish I had heard of the programs offered by AHEC earlier so I could have taken advantage of them in high school. Also shadowing and volunteering at a local hospital helps with narrowing down career options.

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