Michelle Rissky Michelle Rissky

Additional honors and achievements:
State of Kansas Robert C. Byrd Scholar, YWCA Young Woman Leader, Department of Student Housing Bronze Pin Award, Amsden Art History Award, SUA Committee Member of the Year, Resident Assistant for 2 years, planning committee for Blueprints and ETWRC leadership conferences

How I became interested in my area of study/research/discipline:
I have had an interest in becoming a physician ever since I was a little girl – my mother was a nurse, and my father has had two kidney transplants, so that is where the interest probably stemmed from. I think I first realized I wanted to pursue a career in medicine when I noticed that the first aid pages in my Girl Scout Handbook were ready to fall out because I had read them so much! As for Biology, I have always loved science, and I really have my high school teacher Kerry Kapfer, who taught me in both Biology and Zoology, to thank for piquing my interest in a Bio BA.

An honor, achievement or accomplishment that is most meaningful to me:
I think one of my most personally meaningful accomplishments is that I have always remained very well-rounded, and do things because I am passionate about them, not because I feel like I should. A lot of people are surprised when I mention that I am a Biology major, because I tend to be very strong in and fascinated by Humanities areas. But I would hope that this speaks to the fact that I love both my scholarly and artistic sides: I take academics very seriously, but I will always value my years of dance, my passion for the fine arts, and my creativity.

Someone I admire:
I had a friend who was a leader in an organization I was involved with, and I admired her because she always took the time to recognize people. If I mentioned I was having a bad week, I would find a little gift the next day to help me get through my hard times. If I did something noteworthy, whether within the organization or elsewhere, you could be sure I would receive a note praising me. Throughout my college experience, I have tried to emulate her leadership style in that aspect – it always helps knowing someone cares about you and notices your work.

Someone who has been influential or had a significant impact on my life:
While my parents have had the greatest impact on my life by far, I feel very lucky to be able to say that my elementary school teachers and staff were, and still are, very influential on my life. I went to an extremely supportive public elementary school where teachers truly cared about me, and I in turn idolized them. I had several that attended my high school graduation party, and even now when I return to events back home, I will quickly be surrounded by teachers I had, teachers I never had, and even retired teachers who all want to know how my life is going. They really helped to instill in me that I could be whatever I wanted to be, and I would be fully supported in whatever endeavor I chose.

Most favorite/least favorite memory as a student:
Although it really has been all the little times staying up late with my friends and talking about life, one of my favorite things about being a high school or college student is going to the games. My goal isn’t really to outcheer everyone else, but anyone who has seen me bounce around at one might doubt that…I love being a Jayhawk.

An important life lesson I have learned
: I try to learn a new lesson about life every day, so there are probably too many to name…but I will say, a true, genuine smile goes a long, long way.

A favorite quote or saying:
I could list several, but a Margaret Thatcher quote I adopted years ago as a sort of personal motto reads,

Standing in the middle of the road is very dangerous; you get knocked down by the traffic from both sides.
This saying reminds me to be decisive and find a side to believe in. I often am “too good” at seeing issues from multiple perspectives, and therefore have trouble forming an opinion. But if one “stands in the middle of the road,” their voice is lost, and without that, they might never be able to make a difference. So I always try to not just stand for something, but be wholeheartedly passionate about it.

My hopes for the world:
World peace. ;) Actually, my greatest hope for the world is to progress in creating a balance between equality and pride in one’s identity, which would include nationality conflicts, but also encompass differences in gender and race. I wish that technology and medicines were equally available to everyone. And I also hope that we could embrace the idea of a global community even more to help protect our environment.