Hard at work
Even from a young age, Liz Cerezo was as self-driven as they come. “I remember deciding to make my own playhouse as a kid,” she laughs. “It was terrible.”
Having spent some of her younger years in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, Liz says that you “never really leave the island,” something that is true for her despite the fact that she’s made Vermont her recent home. “I always wanted to go to college in the States,” she says. After moving initially to Waterboro, S.C., she decided on Green Mountain College for, among other things, a change of scenery. “Buildings in Puerto Rico are really adobe and stucco and in Vermont there’s a lot more green—more bricks and little towns,” she says.
Liz knew she wanted to focus her studies on something deeply related to the human condition. “I didn’t know if I wanted to study psychology—the individual—or sociology—the group.” Eventually, it was Liz’s fondness for analyzing the human mind that pushed her toward psychology, where she quickly put some creative ideas to work.
“What I really found interesting was the biology behind psychology. For example, I am doing a group independent study on insulin and cognition. It’s about linking insulin with the glucose process.”
Liz will also be co-presenting research with student Emma Wallace on environmental messaging at the National Conference for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) in Schenectady later in the semester. As Prof. Jen Sellers’ work-study student, Liz also designs online surveys using a software program called Media Lab. “It’s been one of my favorite projects related to psychology. I also get to design puzzles and logic tests.”
In addition to that, Liz spent last summer interning with the Summer Medical and Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. “It was a great opportunity to prepare for the MCAT, take classes, see some interesting presentations, and research public health issues,” Liz says.
Liz is well aware that to be a successful student of psychology or medicine she needed theory as well as practice.
“I thought I would just do studies forever,” she says. “But I realized that wasn’t very realistic.”
That’s when she took up volunteering at Rutland Regional Hospital as an emergency room attendant. Her interactions with people gave her a chance to speak with patients under stress and try to make their visit a little easier.
Before long, Liz had also joined the rescue squad and became a certified member Emergency Care Attendant or “first responder”, as they’re often called. “It’s fun to move your way through the ranks—and you’re helping people all along the way,” she says.
Reflecting on her GMC career, Liz exudes a mixture of nostalgia and gratitude. “I’ve been fortunate. Being able to go to and live in such different places and have such supportive parents has really helped me.” And while she’s grateful of the help she’s had, with med-school in sight, she’s equally conscious of the help she’s capable of giving—which is something her inner playhouse-builder is bent on doing.
By Chad Skiles ‘12