Taking a medical anthropology major into action

Class of 2023 Reflections: Maggie Farr

| in Community

By Abby Hagen (CAS`23)

Maggie Farr (CAS’23) has spent the last four years pursuing her interest in medical anthropology through coursework, research, and extracurricular opportunities that brought her major to life.

Farr is one of the first students to graduate from the anthropology department with a specialization in “Anthropology, Health & Medicine,” a new focus that was launched in the 2021-2022 academic year. 

Originally undecided, Farr realized her passion for medical anthropology after taking a class with Assistant Professor of Anthropology Merav Shohet, a cultural anthropologist who does ethnographic research on morality and health. As she contemplated medical school, Farr wanted to better understand factors that influence health and well being, illness, the prevention and treatment of sickness and healing processes. 

“I took a random intro class and immediately fell in love with it,” said Farr. “Right after, I connected with Professor Sholet and started doing research with her in the anthropology department.” 

Along with serving as a research assistant, funded through the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, Farr also became an EMT, a leader of the campus group Changing Health, Attitudes, + Actions to Recreate Girls (CHAARG), an orientation leader, a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority. 

Farr’s extracurriculars connected her with members of the BU community, allowing her to make a direct impact on campus health and wellness. Her various jobs and leadership roles on campus gave her a better understanding of her passion for working directly with patients in the medical field.

Maggie Farr (CAS`23)“I’m glad I had the chance to experience such a variety of extracurricular activities, as they have helped me to understand more about myself,” says Farr, “I can’t imagine doing a job where I don’t work with people directly or where I don’t feel like I’m learning more about the world.”    

In high school, Farr was involved with field hockey, student government, theater, gender equality club, and the music honors society. She came into BU wanting to try new things to explore parts of herself and her interests she hadn’t gotten to before.

Farr’s journey at BU started with the Community Service Center’s First Year Student Outreach Program (FYSOP), which encourages first- year students to be engaged and involved with the Boston Community through a week of service and reflection before fall classes begin. 

“I did FYSOP because I wanted to meet like minded people, get to know Boston, and volunteer in the community,” Farr said. “It set me on a great course for my time at BU. My FYSOP group ended up being my friends for the next four years.”

In the spring of 2020, during her freshman year, Farr was elected to the executive board for CHAARG at BU, an organization dedicated to showing girls that fitness can be fun. Despite the social limitations on the BU campus during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, Farr found ways to create safe spaces to build community during an isolating and stressful time. 

“We recruited 120 new members during the pandemic, meeting virtually and occasionally socially distanced in person. We focused a lot on mental health. It was really important to have a community and something to do during that time, to have somewhere to put the sadness and grief. Being able to do that during the pandemic was really cool,” said Farr.

During that same year, Farr worked as an orientation leader, gladly spending upwards of 30 hours per week sharing her passion for BU with the class of 2024 on Zoom. 

Even though she couldn’t connect with the incoming students in-person, Farr loved being an orientation leader, saying, “I really like BU. I rave about BU to everyone I talk to. It was easy for me to connect with these incoming students who were nervous because I was nervous and I understood. It’s so fun to answer questions and give recommendations about places to eat, the best residence halls, or what classes they should take.”

Farr looks back fondly on her time as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at Fitrec. Aside from getting into hockey games, concerts, and other events on BU’s campus, Farr got perspective on what she wants to do with her career outside of college, realizing how much she likes interacting directly with patients. After graduation, she is planning to work at Boston Medical Center as a part time medical assistant and financial navigator. 

In her final semester at Boston University, Farr studied abroad in the Geneva Internship program, citing this experience as her favorite memory throughout her time at BU.

“I wasn’t sure if I could complete my major and study abroad, even though it was my dream. So when I realized last year that I could study abroad and graduate on time, I was so excited,” said Farr. “One of my favorite memories from abroad was getting up to sing at a jazz club. It was so unexpected and fun, and one of those experiences you won’t forget.” 

As Farr gears up for graduation at the end of May, she is taking stock of all of the jobs, activities, and experiences that made her time at BU memorable and rewarding. 

“My favorite thing about BU is that there are always more things to do,” says Farr, “ There are always events, either academic, social, or completely random. There’s a club for everything. I’ve loved that I can be spontaneous and explore BU’s infinite opportunities. I am happy that I’ve gotten to be involved in so much.”