Many students go to college unsure of what they want to study. Emma Freeman, a second-year microbiology student on a pre-medical track, came to the University of Maine because of her passion and desire to help others.
When Freeman was 8 years old, her younger sister spent a significant amount of time in the hospital battling cancer. She remembers clearly that even during the hardest moments, there was one thing that brought her joy and amazement.
“Everytime a baby was born a twinkley noise would ring through the hospital,” Freeman said. “This filled me with so much excitement, and sometimes we would get to go look at the babies in the nursery. I’ve wanted to do infant care ever since. I believe that every baby born should have an equal fighting chance at a happy life, and I wanna help make that happen.”
Over the years, she discovered how to make that childhood excitement a part of her everyday life through volunteer work. She sees volunteering as using one’s knowledge, skills and resources to help those who don’t have the same privilege. That mission also translates into her desire to practice medicine. She feels a personal responsibility to utilize her skills to help the world.
“My goal is to get into medical school and work hard to become a neonatologist or an obstetrician,” Freeman said. “I would love to come back to Maine and work at Maine Medical Center doing prenatal, maternal and postnatal care. One day, I would love to travel the world and go to undeveloped countries to do medical missionary work with women and babies and provide them with care and education.”
In pursuit of this dream, Freeman originally had her sights set on other schools. While UMaine wasn’t her first choice, she has cultivated many beneficial opportunities here. Freeman attributes much of her success at UMaine to the Honors College and becoming involved in the campus community. She feels as though the Honors College has helped her develop new ways of critical thinking and her own perspectives on the world.
“I had a rough first year. UMaine wasn’t my first choice, and when I got here I knew it was gonna be a hard adjustment,” Freeman said. “My way of dealing with that was to join clubs. It helped me make friends, organize my schedule and follow my passions. I joined clubs right away at the Student Organization Fair; it was honestly the best decision I could have made.”
Freeman is a member of many campus organizations including: Operation H.E.A.R.T.S., Partners for World Health, the Sophomore Eagles and Maine Society of Microbiology club. She also works in Dr. Sally Molloy’s lab, studying the effects of prophage on host gene expression.
Freeman feels that having a healthy mind and living a healthy lifestyle go hand in hand. She joined Pink Gloves Boxing for a fun way to work out, but says it also boosted her confidence and expanded her community. She is currently training with friends for her first half marathon.
“Seek out opportunities and don’t wait for anything. Be active, not passive. Take advantage of every opportunity because you never know how experiences will shape you or who you will meet along the way,” Freeman said.