Duke University | Baldwin Scholars Program

Maurlia Upchurch


Maurlia Upchurch

       It all began with a squid. In middle school, I dissected a squid with an Exacto knife. Fishing inside of the cephalopod’s body, I found its organs and tissues were an intricate puzzle; intriguing me to further my knowledge of a more complicated life form: the human being. I spent hours watching newborn babies undergo life-saving operations while others my age watched cartoons. I retained medical jargon, researching things I saw on television, and planned out the course of my life so that I could one day achieve my dreams of saving babies. Healthcare science came naturally. I continued to see a model of human anatomy just as I saw the squid when as a small child; a puzzle that had many pieces with unique functions, none more important than the other in its own respect.

         A president once said “Do the greatest good for the greatest amount of time.” The life expectancy of the average person in the United States is 78.3 years. If I save a neonate, I can potentially expand their life an average of 78.3 years. In no other branch of medicine is the investment so beneficial. My purpose in life can only be fulfilled when I am saving lives as a neonatologist. To become a neonatologist, I must complete premedical studies before matriculating to medical school where I will learn the delicate art of practicing medicine.


          Studying neuroscience will provide me with a great foundation for a physician’s education. A foreboding goal of mine is to continue conducting research throughout my college experience. I aspire to publish the products of my research in hopes that the world community can benefit from my findings. I have chosen to pursue a literature degree while preparing for medical school to allow me to present researched findings with eloquence. Investing my efforts in disenfranchised and underprivileged groups of people around the world is important to me, especially efforts to make access to healthcare and hygiene a commonality for the human race. To aide my efforts, I plan to travel abroad frequently throughout college promoting hygiene. I plan to practice medicine in Niger, to decrease the 11% infant mortality rate, statistically placing it as the second most dangerous country in which a baby can be born on Earth.