Student Feature: Ashlyn Dickmeyer

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I am currently a junior at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am a member of Pi Beta Phi on campus and am the Social and Recruitment Chair for the club MEDLIFE. In my free time, I love reading, going to coffee shops with friends, relaxing and watching Netflix, and playing with my cat, Solo. I also love traveling. My favorite places I have been are Switzerland, Paris, Maui, and Seattle. 

What are you studying at the university and what are your future plans?

I am majoring in Health Sciences and Public Policy through an Individualized Program of Study. I am very lucky and grateful to have received approval for this program because it really is my dream major. I originally had a different IPS major during my freshmen and sophomore years of college, where I studied Neuroscience on the Pre-Medicine path. Last year, I realized that my long-term career goals involved working on the legal side of medicine trying to update and change the healthcare system, not on the clinical side like I had originally thought. After this realization, I stopped studying Neuroscience and Pre-Medicine and instead decided to propose an entirely new major and follow the Pre-Law path. I also added a minor in Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs. After I graduate in May of 2023, I plan to attend Law school and focus on Health Law and/or Human Rights Law. My dream career would be working as an international human rights lawyer focusing on health disparities. 

How will working at the PPC help you work towards your goals for the future? 

Working at PPC helps me tremendously in working towards my goals because it gives me the opportunity to gain experience in countless research opportunities related to public policy. Since I changed my major and career trajectory so recently, I really wanted to gain experience in my new areas of interest. I love that I can work on so many different research projects that allow me to learn about a variety of different topics. I have made so many amazing connections with researchers and my fellow research assistants, and I am so grateful for the support and opportunities that they provide me. 

What are you most excited about learning or working on? 

I am very excited to learn more about the ins and outs of the field of public policy and work with individuals from different backgrounds. What I love most about public policy is how it requires a high level of critical thinking and considering many different viewpoints, so I am excited to learn about the perspectives of others and work together to best implement or design a policy. I would love to work on projects related to healthcare because I worked in medical settings when I was Pre-Med student, so I would love to combine my previous experiences and current career goals of working in law. 

What is something you feel passionate about? 

I feel very passionate about resolving health disparities in our current healthcare system. There are so many disparities that exist today that there is absolutely no reason for, like the significantly increased maternal death rate of Black mothers. I want to work to eradicate these disparities and remove the barriers that different groups face when trying to acquire quality healthcare. I believe that everyone should have equal and equitable access to healthcare, regardless of their identity, race, or any other defining factors. 

What is something that has helped make you the person you are today?

I spent years working in the medical field and thinking I would go to medical school. I am surrounded by many extremely intelligent doctors in my personal life who have taught me a lot about the field of medicine and the barriers that they face in providing healthcare to certain populations. Through their and my own experiences, I realized my true passion in medicine was not on the clinical side but instead on the legal side, working to eradicate these barriers. I am very proud of my background in and knowledge of the medical system and various STEM courses, and I believe that they will help me tremendously in successfully combining Health Sciences and Public Policy and contribute to my goal of becoming a lawyer.