Jasmine Cottle, a University of Richmond senior majoring in psychology and minoring in medical humanities, has a very busy schedule.

As the co-captain of the University’s track and field team, she spends about 30 hours per week practicing, working out and traveling to competitions during the season. The Oliver Hill Scholar also balances her classes, membership in Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, volunteer work in the Richmond community and tutoring fellow students in the sciences.

“I've been running track competitively since I was nine years old,” Cottle said. “It’s something I have done all my life, but in college, it’s been a lot harder. I have to do homework and study on buses and airplanes and at hotels and track meets.”

And now that it’s her senior year at Richmond, Cottle has added another time-consuming task to her daily routine: applying to medical school.

“I completed my primary applications in July and my secondary applications in late September,” she said. “I prepared for interviews by going through the Health Professions Advisory Committee process and participating in a mock interview at the Career Development Center.”

Cottle, who has wanted to be a doctor since she was six years old, was offered five interviews, but after her first three, her heart was set on attending Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tenn.
“I felt it was a place where I would succeed and where I could study in an environment dedicated to serving medically underserved populations,” said Cottle, who plans to focus on pediatrics or psychiatry in medical school.

Cottle’s desire to help underserved populations was cemented through her volunteer work with Medi Home Hospice in Richmond, an organization that provides in-home care for patients with life-limiting illnesses, as well as emotional support for their families.

“I started volunteering there as a part of a class I was taking about ethical decision making in healthcare,” Cottle said. “I continued to work there because the people were great, and I really enjoyed it.”

Cottle now works with a woman diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, fitting in weekly visits so that the patient’s primary caregiver can run errands or take a break from the demands of caring for a sick family member.

“I'm not sure of her prognosis, but my job is to provide care for her, watch over her and give her someone to talk to,” Cottle said. “We do puzzles and watch movies, and I usually bring The Collegian over to her every Thursday and read it to her.”