Plansoen Scholar Update: Jovana Jovanivska

An Update from Plansoen Scholar Jovana Jovanivska:


Hello everyone,

I hope that all of you had a wonderful time during the holiday season. This winter break I had the chance to spend time with my friends and family back in North Macedonia, as well as have a week-long trip in Spain traveling and visiting my best friend from high school. I am grateful that I could enjoy the holidays and take a well-deserved break before my last semester in college.

My busy schedule in the past year began in August, even before the Fall semester started. During this period, I worked on a data science project where I looked at whether it’s possible to detect memory loss by MRI images alone in patients suffering from mild traumatic brain injuries. Simultaneously, I was a First Connection Coordinator where I organized a pre-orientation program for Lake Forest College students traditionally underrepresented in higher education. 

Once the semester started, I had a full course load where one of my classes was a self-designed research project. In this course, I am aiming to find a non-invasive method of detecting worms in the bodies of patients who are suffering from river blindness, a parasitic disease mainly common in Africa. In the meantime, I also continued working on campus as a lead tutor in biology at the Science Resource Center and as a Circulation Desk Supervisor at the Donnelley and Lee Library.

As a senior, a significant part of my time past semester was also preparing for the next step in my career, which for me was applying to PhD programs in Epidemiology. The final list of universities I applied to is Harvard, Brown, Emory, University of Chicago and University of Wisconsin-Madison. I am excited to announce that I already received an acceptance from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and I’m still waiting to hear back from the other institutions. I am also happy to share that besides having an extremely challenging semester, I still managed to attain a 4.0 GPA and I presented my summer research at two college symposiums. In the next semester, I am looking forward to a lighter schedule, where I aim to use this time to truly appreciate the community around me. 

Lastly, my past semester wouldn’t be the same without my involvement at the First Presbyterian Church. The support and engagement from the FPC has helped me to remain motivated and follow my dreams. I enjoyed regularly joining the Wednesday dinners, where I could share my experiences from abroad and my everyday life at the College, as well as learn more about the people in the community. Moreover, I also volunteered at the Rummage Sale and read a scripture by Luke during the lighting of the Advent Candles. It’s been such a pleasure to become a part of this community. I am extremely grateful for the endless amount of encouragement and guidance I have received in the past year from the First Presbyterian Church as a Plansoen Scholar and I cannot thank you enough for making my past year like no other. I am excited to continue being involved with the church next semester.

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