student spotlight: renata wettermann

In a continual effort to put a “face” to Rice 360°, we sat down with student Renata Wettermann ’17 last week. She’s an incredibly inspiring student and is on the fast track to great things.

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Renata, a senior from Palatine, Illinois, is a Health Sciences, Biochemistry, and Global Health Technologies major at Rice. She’s headed to Baylor College of Medicine in the fall,hoping to specialize in pediatrics or infectious diseases. One day, she plans to practice medicine and teach healthcare workers in low-resource settings.

So, she’s pretty impressive on paper. But to top it off, she’s compassionate, introspective and worldly.

She says, “Although people like to deny it, our world tends to put a premium on life based on who you are and where you were born. Through my short time experiencing health care in low-resource settings, I’ve often seen it insinuated that there’s a lesser degree of care which is ‘good enough’ for the world’s most vulnerable people. I believe that regardless of where you are born or how affluent you are, we are all deserving of high-quality care.”

She explains that Rice 360° jump started her passion and career in this way. She learned to value high-quality medical technology and the people this technology can assist. 

Coming from a long line of engineers, Renata has always felt drawn to complex problems.With prior exposure to the complex realities of global health problems, she came to Rice excited to collaborate with others.

“Rice is the perfect place to address healthcare issues in low-resource settings. With a diverse student body and access to the Texas Medical Center, there’s tremendous opportunity to gain perspective and build stronger teams here.”

Through Rice 360°, Renata learned to think critically within the context of the community she was serving. During the summer between her sophomore and junior years, she interned at St. Gabriel’s Hospital in Namitete, Malawi.

“I learned that I couldn’t really expect to produce successful technology until I understood what would be useful to the users. There was one particular moment when I got to participate in a home visit for a patient. I remember meeting this woman, her family, and the healthcare worker and just thinking ‘I get it now. I understand why we’redoing this.’ As great as it is to create technologies, it’s when I take a step back to watch and listen that I really learn the most.”

She’s carried that lesson with her through her Rice experience and will undoubtedly carry it into medical school and beyond. We wish her all the best!

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