Medical student vows to pay it forward in honor of scholarship namesake
Just outside the Student Commons area on the second floor of the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine is a memorial wall honoring the life of Caroline Osborne, a member of the school’s charter class, who passed away while earning her degree. The wall displays pictures of Osborne, some of her writings and artwork, and a quilt her classmates had made out of the embroidered pockets from their white coats.
“Every day when I walk down the hall, I see Caroline, and I’m reminded to pay it forward to be the kind of physician I know she would have been,” said Celine Marlin Andrews, a first-year student and recipient of the Caroline Osborne Memorial Scholarship created by her family as a remembrance. “Receiving the scholarship has made such an unbelievable impact on me. I want to make the most of my time here at VTC.”
A life of service to others was instilled in Marlin Andrews at an early age. Growing up in a small town in Pennsylvania, she attended a school focused on developing students’ intellectual, artistic, and practical skills in an integrated and holistic manner.
“Part of our educational experience was to engage with the community and give back to those less fortunate,” she said. “So, I’ve been volunteering and giving back to the community for a long time. I knew growing up that I wanted to lead a life of service to others and to make giving back a full-time commitment.”
It was a high school biology class that first set the wheels in motion that she might want to pursue a career in medicine.
“I decided before I went to college that I wanted to blend my new love for science with my passion to give back to others, and the best way for me to do that was in medicine,” Marlin Andrews said. “It’s been pretty focused from here on out.”
But before college, she took a bold step and spent a year in France immersed in part of her heritage. As a first-generation American, Marlin Andrews thought it was important to learn more about her roots. Her mother is from Barbados, and her maternal grandfather is from France. While overseas, she enrolled in a cultural immersion program at a local university and took a job as a live-in nanny.
“That year taught me how to step outside my comfort zone and to approach all situations in life with an open mind,” she said. I’ve worked to incorporate bringing an open mind to my daily life, and I plan to continue broadening my horizons, educationally and culturally.”
A graduate of Colgate University, where she double majored in biology and English, Marlin Andrews was recognized multiple times with the Dean’s Award with Distinction for Academic Excellence.
Before starting medical school, she worked at the National Institutes of Health for two years in the field of genetic research relating to RNA. Her research accomplishments include being co-author on a journal article that will be coming out soon and first author on an article that will be published next year. The Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine made it onto her short list of medical schools because of its strong research program.
“Part of me considered getting a Ph.D. instead of an M.D.,” she said. “But I quickly nixed that idea because I really like working with people. That’s definitely why I’m going into the health care field.”
At the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine, all students work alongside a research mentor to complete a four-year longitudinal research project of publishable quality in an academic journal. Marlin Andrews plans to conduct research in gynecological oncology, possibly looking at ways to preserve a woman’s fertility after undergoing cancer treatment.
“I’m really interested in finding ways for women to hold onto that hope,” she said.
Although keeping an open mind, Marlin Andrews may pursue a similar field clinically.
“I’m not sure what kind of doctor I’m going to turn out to be,” she said. “But I really do enjoy working with female patient populations and the relationships I would build and the research I would be doing in that field.”