Amber Owens ′11
Hometown: Dyersburg, TN
Fun fact: Plays the harp.
Congratulations on the job with St. Jude. How’d that come together?
Thanks! I started working with St. Jude at the beginning of last summer. I did a paid internship through Rhodes’ Summer Plus program. Summer Plus is a great program that I would recommend to any Rhodes student. It was a great experience and it led me to an amazing job. I met some incredible researchers and doctors who really take an interest in working with students and provide a lot of support.
After graduating a semester early, I was offered a job to continue working with the hospital. I now work with Dr. Ogg’s research group within radiology. We do tumor analysis on MRIs, looking at different types of tumors within the brain, and try to spatially localize tumor subtypes. When I was a freshman I started volunteering at Le Bonheur in the epilepsy unit, so I had a lot of experience with different types of analysis like EEGs for seizures. That experience helped me get into other imaging methods at St. Jude like the MRI.
How has it been working with St. Jude?
It’s been incredible. I couldn’t ask for a better place to work. Honestly if I wasn’t planning on going back to school, it’s a place that I would love to work at forever. It’s a place where you want to build a career. The people I work with are enthusiastic about what they do and their enthusiasm is contagious. It’s also a great environment in which to learn.
I’ll be in dental school in the fall. I came upon dental school when I started college. It was never something that I had ruled out because I knew I wanted to do something health-care based, but I wasn’t sure where. I’ve done some volunteer work with dentists in the past and just loved it. It makes me so happy to go in and work with the patients. It’s a job I can see myself doing every day because I enjoy it so much.
Were you prepared to transfer into the working world?
Rhodes prepared me for life after college. Rhodes is known for its excellent academics, committed students, and its emphasis on honorable, responsible people. People respect Rhodes for those and so many other reasons. It has an amazing reputation—when you say you’re from Rhodes, you’re expected to be prepared and motivated and ready to do what you can. Attending Rhodes gave me so many opportunities, like my job at St. Jude, which I wouldn’t have had anywhere else. It was really such a catalyst for success in my life.
What else were you involved in at Rhodes?
I am a harpist and we have started a harp ensemble that now has eight harpists! Last year we received a grant to do community service encouraging music education in schools that allows us to play for others and spark their interest in learning music. I consider myself a science-minded person, but that’s one of the great things about a liberal arts school like Rhodes: You can do many things that interest you, even if they are very different.