Dave says the medical humanities program within the School of Liberal Arts offers the opportunity to explore many fields and pathways that connect to medicine and the liberal arts with classes as diverse as the history of medicine, bioethics, and the sociology of death and dying. “All these various perspectives will prepare me to be a stronger and more empathetic physician,” she says. “This major was a perfect fit for me.”

She credits each course in the program for giving her a unique perspective that she will take with her through grad school and beyond. One such perspective was the theme of blame in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein.” The book asks if the monster is responsible for his own actions or if Dr. Frankenstein, the creator, should be held accountable. “The concept of blame is very relevant to medicine,” Dave says. “A patient has to deal with what caused a diagnosis.” She will take her research on blame and present it at Stanford University’s Health Humanities Consortium Conference on April 20.

IUPUI has offered Dave a wealth of internship and study abroad opportunities as well. As a Spanish minor, she was able to put her speaking skills to work at the University of Havana, helping the Distributed Drug Discovery Lab teach students about neglected diseases and the need to discover medications to fight them. She’s also traveled to Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic, and Panama through IUPUI Study Abroad and Global Medical Brigades, a program that goes to a new Latin American country each year to set up a medical clinic.

Dave also helped revive the medical humanities club and is now the president. She has staged a mock bioethics committee event, helped planned the Midwest Medical Humanities Undergraduate Conference, and visited art museums to discuss how different works relate to the liberal arts.

“Priya is a disciplined, high-achieving scholar, whose natural curiosity and desire to fully develop her abilities has led her to pursue an unusually rigorous and diverse curriculum throughout her four years at IUPUI, supplemented by numerous service and extra-curricular activities,” says Dr. Emily Beckman, director of and assistant professor in the medical humanities and health studies program. “Priya is also a thoughtful, caring young woman, and truly a person of excellent character and integrity. She has demonstrated through her four years at IUPUI a dedication to integrating the humanities, social and natural sciences, and even fine arts to foster improvements in the human condition.”

Along with being the top student at IUPUI, Dave was also the School of Liberal Arts Faculty Medal of Academic Distinction winner and a William M. Plater Civic Engagement Medallion.

“I’ve had so many amazing opportunities to support aspects of the humanities within medicine,” Dave says. “I’m very thankful for the opportunities I’ve had and to be recognized. [IUPUI's top student award] is a reflection of all the incredible opportunities that my mentors at IUPUI afforded me. IUPUI provided the ideal environment to excel in anything and everything I could imagine. I am beyond grateful for my experience at IUPUI, culminating in this honor."