Scholar Spotlight | Studying Policy and Medicine Goes Hand in Hand

Noelle Kendall ’19 sits at Rep. Lamar Smith’s desk on the Tower Scholars Program visit to Washington, d.c.

Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar Noelle Kendall ’19 is majoring in biological sciences and earning minors in chemistry and French in addition to her Tower Scholars Program minor in public policy and international affairs. We asked her about her experience as a Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar and about why science and public policy matter to her.

Why did you decide to apply to the Tower Scholars Program? How has the program informed your time here at SMU?

I decided to apply to the Tower Scholars Program my freshman year because I have always been interested in politics and policy. When I discovered the Tower Scholars Program and learned about both the theoretical and practical approaches it takes, I knew I had to apply. Becoming a Highland Capital Management Tower Scholar is one of the best things that has happened to me during my time at SMU because it has opened my mind to things that I would have never learned otherwise. The breadth and depth we cover in the program is amazing.

Why is it important to you to connect the worlds of medicine/science and public policy?

Medicine/science and public policy seem to be two very different fields, and they are, but each one heavily affects the other. I think it is important that these two worlds find a connection so that they can better understand each other. This understanding would lead to more comprehensive science policy and a scientific community that understands and works with its government for safe, efficient progress.

What has been your favorite experience during your time at SMU?

I do not know if I can pick just one experience at SMU that stands out because there are so many that I will never forget, but one of those that relates to the Tower Scholars Program is our Washington D.C. trip. We are a very close cohort, but that trip solidified our friendships. I miss having class with them every week. What sets the Tower Scholars Program apart from other minors and programs is the close relationships we make with each other and our faculty. It is through these connections that we learn more than we ever could in our major classes because we each bring our own unique perspective from our other classes and experiences, and we have this deep rooted respect that allows us to have meaningful and productive discussions.

What are you hoping to accomplish after graduation?

After graduation, I am taking a gap year before I attend medical school. In my gap year, I am hoping to stay in Dallas and either work in a medical capacity as a clinical researcher or do policy research.