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Department of History Student Spotlights

Spotlight on a Student: Rachel Ancar

Spotlight on a Student: Rachel Ancar

Rachel gives us a big smile!

CU Denver history department student Rachel Ancar is a star in every way. Confident and charming, Rachel graciously agreed to sit down and answer a few questions on her way to becoming an MD.

Q: Why did you choose CU Denver? 

A: I was kind of in the process whether or not I was going to go to Colorado College. I basically got into the BA/BS to MD degree which is a program where as a freshmen you’re accepted into the CU Medical School as long as you fulfill some requirements throughout your undergrad, like taking the MCAT and keeping up your GPA. So when I got accepted into the program, I decided to come here.

Q: Why the History department? 

A: In high school, I had a lot of great history teachers and I enjoyed the subject – it was one of my favorite subjects. I came to college with the perspective that I knew what I was going to do, but I wanted to study something that I really enjoy. And I like biology a lot, but I loved history too, so at the time it was like, "I love history so I'm just going to do it."

I think it’s evolved into something that’s a lot more meaningful to me than just that I like it.  My education here wouldn't be the same without it - without my experiences in the history department. Taking those classes and writing about all those things I never even thought of before gave me a different way of thinking about science, and a new way of approaching problems and ideas in my other field. I think it will definitely affect the way that I practice medicine in the future. Even now I think it's helped me practically.  For example, a lot of people struggle with the verbal reasoning section of the MCAT, but I think it's strengthened me there.


Q: How do your interests in medicine and history blend together? 

A: I feel like I may end up going into a field related to genetics, and I think that there's a lot there to study in terms of history.  Genetics is a modern science, so I think that there's a lot of interesting developments to look back on and see where it goes.  I'd like to stay involved in it in that way. Maybe I'll write a book about it or something? Does that sound pretentious? (She laughs!) 

Everybody has something that they have to remain passionate about; just because you're a doctor doesn't mean you lose interest in everything else in your life. Some people knit, some people play music, but for me, it's doing research to someday write a book. 

Q: Have you had any favorite classes in the History department? 

A: Pretty much whenever I take a class it becomes my favorite class. I really liked my history of science class, and I really liked the two classes I took with Dr. Palmer – Age of Imperialism and Modern France.

I guess those are the ones that stick out, but I enjoyed all of them just because there was so much I didn’t know. I didn't know because no one had ever mentioned this stuff before!  When you find out more, it changes the way you view things that are going on in the world today.

Q: What about favorite history Professors? 

A: Kelly Palmer – I really liked her as a teacher; I felt like she really fostered my thinking, and I’m really interested in intellectual history and she helped me develop that in my papers, and she’s just really cool.

I also really like Dr. Agee too. And his would be one of my favorite classes because that process brought me to an understanding of what the field is about, like working in it as if I were a researcher. It was a really hard class, but he was definitely a part of my success in my work there.

Q: Do you want to stay in Colorado? 

A: I’m staying for the next 4 years and after that I might leave for a little while. But I want to raise a family here and be here long time. I love this state and the people and the culture.