She recently was recognized with the Class of 2010 Academic Achievement Award during the School of Medicine’s annual Honors Recognition program.
McLaren, 26, studied at Tufts University her first year in college, and then obtained a bachelor’s degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan. Originally from Grand Rapids, she and her husband now live in Berkley.
“I guess I’ve always been interested in medicine. My dad was a pediatrician and I grew up seeing how much he loved his work and how much his patients and patients’ families loved him,” she said. “I admired him for the knowledge he had and for how many people he helped, and I desired a similar career for myself.”
McLaren credits her “patient” husband, Mike, and “smart classmates” with helping her maintain her top-of-class grades.
“Mike helps to keep my life balanced and has been very supportive and encouraging of my career goals,” she said. “Also, my friends and I studied together often during the first three years of school, helping each other work through the more difficult topics -- and always making sure we took a break for lunch.”
She is applying for a residency in emergency medicine, with a special interest in emergency medicine critical care because she “loves” the acute presentation of disease and the variety of patients the field offers. “I thrive in the fast-paced, high-stress environment of the emergency department and enjoy having to stay on my toes, prepared for whoever walks through the door,” she said.
Currently racking up frequent flyer miles as she conducts residency interviews, McLaren said she envisions herself practicing medicine at a large urban medical center.
McLaren said she chose Wayne State University for her medical training because of the School of Medicine’s reputation for strong clinical training. “Anyone can read and learn from a book, but working with brilliant clinicians and a diverse patient population during these past two years has been an invaluable experience and by far my most enjoyable years of medical school,” she said.