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Student Profile

Student Spotlight: Ashley Lamb

The UHP sits down with third-year Honors Fellow, Ashely Lamb, to reflect on her years with the Honors Program.

Ashley Lamb attending a live filming of "The View" in New York City while on a Fall Break Cultural Excursion with the University Honors Program.

Ashley Lamb has consistently demonstrated a commitment to service, leadership and academic excellence. Visible not only through her plentiful internship experiences, but also her three-year stint as a University Honors Program (UHP) Fellow, these traits are most clearly demonstrated in her dedication to humanitarian causes, and her hard work in supporting and uplifting her Honors Program peers. 

Lamb found herself inspired to become an Honors Fellow after finding a friend and peer mentor in the Fellow who assisted with the first Honors Seminar she was ever enrolled in.

She reflected on the importance of this support as a first-year student, saying: “The fellow in that class (“HON 202: The Art of War,” Dr. Catherine Mainland) was an integral part of my time in the UHP, checking in with me in regard to not only my academic success but my mental health as well. I wanted to do the same for other students since service is especially important to me.”

She has undoubtedly fulfilled this role, several times over for the UHP. For the current Spring 2024 semester, Lamb is serving as the assigned Honors Fellow for HON 296: “Defining Sustainability: World Peace,” instructed by UHP Assistant Director Meghan Teten.

During the Fall 2023 semester she had the  rare opportunity to teach her own Honors Seminar (non-credit-bearing), entitled, “HON 398: Developing a Culture of Encounter: Truly Healing as Observed in House MD.” The seminar focused on the complexities of what makes healthcare professionals remarkable, particularly by exploring the significance of bedside manner. 

For Lamb, delving into these nuanced conversations has been an experience in learning how to lead her peers in meaningful conversations. She said: “Well, I don’t think teaching comes easily to me. It takes a different part of me that I haven’t used before. You have to be assertive, you have to be confident. You have to make sure you always plan ahead and encourage the students. There’s a balance between creating respect and giving that respect to others that doesn’t quite match my experience in other roles.”

Although she might not have taught in her other roles, Lamb has undoubtedly taken positions to help secure her future as a traveling medical doctor, her professional goal. These positions include a Duke Summer Training in Academic Research (STAR) internship, a Comparative Medicine Institute (CMI) Research internship at NC State, a Research and Education volunteer at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences, a Medical Scribe at OrthoNC, volunteer at the Mariam Clinic, an EMT-B volunteer at NC Baptists on a Mission, and a Physical Biochemistry Teaching Assistantship.

All of these internships and positions have been completed while pursuing a double major in Polymer and Color Chemistry (Medical Sciences)  and Life Sciences (Human Biology). 

While reflecting on these experiences, she has found value in the mentorship she has gained through Duke Star, especially, sharing, “It was nice for me personally, in the sense that I gained a professional mentor through it. It’s kind of been really nice in that he’s been walking me through my personal journey, my personal path to medicine.”

Additionally influenced by her experience at NC State, where she was a CMI Research Intern, Lamb described her research with the program: “CMI really bridges that gap for you, in trying to connect with different labs for research positions. Each project is actually between three different labs. My research there was on developing a lipid anolyte for early detection of cancer, to eventually maybe develop a biosensor coming out of that.”

For Lamb, she was also given the opportunity to work across labs in her first exposure to the interdisciplinary nature of medical sciences. This allowed her to see the full-circle development of her research, which she described: “The Baker Lab… the chemistry lab that I was part of… was a biology lab in which I got hands-on experience. Through the vinyl lab that I was in, I got to see what goes into making a biosensor, what it takes to really process that.”

Lamb has continued to pursue interdisciplinary work, particularly within the communities for both of her majors. When asked how she maintains this balance, she shared: “Sometimes that’s the hard part, is deciding what’s your primary major and what you are going to put most of your focus and time into.” 

Lamb has found that connecting with a smaller community has proven most valuable, particularly as she has found new ways to contribute to the Wilson College of Textiles. 

“I connect with the pre-meds in Human Biology, but my primary major coming into college was Polymer and Color Chemistry,” she said. “I do a lot with polymers, but as medical applications. For the most part, my community comes from the College of Textiles in terms of classes. I’m also an Ambassador this year, as I wanted to give back to the College of Textiles.”

This developed experience with community leading is undoubtedly reminiscent of Lamb’s time living in the Honors Village, which she described as a place where she made her closest friends while being surrounded by a community of critical and creative thinkers who are committed to diversity. 

When asked for her advice for the Honors Program community, Lamb shared: “My advice would be, if you’re applying for medical school, or graduate school, or whatever it is, don’t focus on the application part. Don’t tailor your entire life as an undergraduate to that application. Your application is supposed to focus on who you are. Everything you’re passionate about doesn’t have to end up being your career, but make sure when you’re going through your undergraduate years you’re not focused on the next step or making others happy. Focus on being who you are above all else.” 

As for Lamb, her future is certainly bright. Ten years from now, she sees herself running a medical non-profit: “One day I would love to open up my own free health clinic, travel around North Carolina and provide care to other people.”