Since she could walk, Briana Mousley '15 has been helping people. As a child, her mother was influential in shaping Mousley's passion for people, which explains her interest in becoming a medical doctor. Her mother would bring her along to volunteer at places like The Salvation Army and soup kitchens.
"Not only is helping people something that's ingrained in me, but I want to do it," Mousley said. "It's just a part of me, and it always will be part of me."
With a career in mind, Mousley chose to enter Emmanuel as a biology major with a concentration in health sciences. By her sophomore year, she had already begun research with Associate Professor of Physics Allen Price, whose research on DNA and single molecule techniques intrigued her.
"The way I look at science and medicine is that it goes from a very small scale to a very large scale," Mousley said. "I think it's pretty cool to learn the techniques and the process and how that can benefit people."
In February, Mousley, along with four other Emmanuel students, presented a poster on their recent research entitled, "Measuring Kinetics of DNA Cleavage with Single Molecule Resolution" in Baltimore, Maryland. The manuscript on this research, "Tethered Particle Motion with Single DNA Molecules," was recently accepted into the American Journal of Physics.
"It's one thing to do research in the lab where you're literally given the protocol step by step, but to actually form your own hypothesis and collect your own results that you may not know the answer to, is exciting. I think it's awesome," she said.
Mousley likes being part of a research team because she enjoys the teamwork and mentoring process (both being a mentor and being mentored). As a resident assistant (RA), Mousley is currently planning to host a research panel for her residents, which will be comprised of fellow student researchers. This panel will give her residents the opportunity to hear about the benefits and opportunities that occur by participating in research, while also giving them a casual and non-intimidating environment to ask questions.
Although Mousley has enjoyed three years of being part of Dr. Price's research team and finds the work invaluable, she has found herself to be more clinically-inclined.
"I'm a people person. I enjoy seeing the patient, talking to them and asking them how they're doing," she said.
For clinical experience, Mousley interned and volunteered in two of Boston's renowned hospitals, Boston Children's Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. During summer 2014, she held an internship at Children's where she worked under anesthesiologist Dr. Dusica Bajic M.D., Ph.D., and an Emmanuel alum Michael Craig '12, who is Dr. Bajic's clinical research assistant.
At the hospital, Mousley would look at MRIs and prepare images for the doctor to analyze. She would also join Dr. Bajic on her rotations, so she was able to visit with patients.
"Anesthesiology isn't exactly what I want to do, but the internship helped me narrow down what I do want to do," said Mousley, who is leaning towards pursuing cardiology or neurology. "To be an intern at a well-known institution like Boston Children's Hospital and go to meetings with doctors is really humbling - just being around that environment of professionalism and status. They're the best of the best."
Mousley admits to crying when she found out she landed the internship, because it was a place she's always wanted to work. When her time at Children's came to a close, Mousley began a fall internship and spring volunteer position in the Emergency Department at Beth Israel. In this job, she greets patient walk-ins and brings them into triage for nurses to assess them. When the ER isn't busy, Mousley helps nurses clear food, stock supplies and also talks to patients.
"In the waiting room, people get impatient, which I can sympathize with because they're at their worst point in their day. They can take their anger out on you, but I think it's actually good practice for me with patients," Mousley said. "Talking to patients is what gives me the most satisfaction."
It's hard for Mousley to compare her experience at both hospitals, because her responsibilities were different at each; however, she said she would definitely want to work in both institutions again.
"I respect both of them equally. I gained different things from each hospital - the research part and the clinical part. I think it's the best of both worlds," she said.
Outside of her internships and time as a RA, Mousley has been extremely involved in the College community, because of her love for engaging with people. She is the vice president of the Emmanuel College Chapter of Habitat for Humanity, the public relations officer of the Chemistry Club, a member of the National Biology Honor Society (Beta Beta Beta) and the Scientific Research Society (Sigma Xi) and played intramural soccer her sophomore and junior years.
Upon graduation, Mousley plans on staying around Boston, finding a job, studying for the MCAT and saving money before attending medical school. She said her hard work at Emmanuel has paid off, allowing her to get the most out of the school. She also urges fellow undergrads and incoming freshman to get as involved as they can, because "you'll never know what will interest you until you try."
Emmanuel's small size, she said, allowed her to feel like a big fish in small pond, but she had to put the work in for that attention and feeling - standing out doesn't just happen.
"The opportunities that I've been given, I've had to actively search for them. They didn't just come to me," she said.
Mousley is looking forward to a career helping people, and she credits her classes, research, club participation and other activities on campus to helping her become a well-rounded person.
"I'm going to miss it," Mousley said about her time at Emmanuel. "I think I soaked it all in. I don't have any regrets."