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Discovering a new path

By December 29, 2020September 16th, 2023No Comments

By Allison Campbell-Jensen

Alexa Oswald

Alexa Oswald

Alexa Oswald came to the Health Sciences Library through serendipity — she saw a summer job listed and had enough hours to take it — and has been working there ever since. She was intending to be a dental student, so the position made sense, too.

As Oswald began taking classes and looking at the opportunities, however, she followed a new call. Now, after she graduates in chemistry, she plans to enter a master’s degree program in nursing and, ultimately, become a nurse-midwife.

“I’ve always been interested in nursing and reproductive health,” she says. “There was a leadership retreat where we were discovering what our values are and what change we want to see in the world. There was something there, with changing how birth is viewed [that spoke to me.]”

From Bio-Medical Library to Health Sciences Library

In its former home in Diehl Hall, the then-Bio-Medical Library was tucked away — people had to make it a point to go there, Oswald says. She enjoyed helping students from different fields find information, as well as study spots; “that’s been really fun to facilitate in some way,” she says.

The new Health Sciences Library has made an impression on Oswald.

“I love the new space with all the windows and all the traffic coming through. It’s really nice to see people all the time.” Even with social distancing.

She appreciates coming back to work after having to go home to tiny Felton, Minnesota, during spring semester because of COVID restrictions.

Make it sustainable

Oswald is passionate about sustainability and likes to explore different processes. While recycling is good, for instance, she prefers natural living — choosing to live with less impact.

“There’s lots of benefits to it,” Oswald says. “Just learning to do with less and being happy with that, and to have a bunch of experiences rather than just things. I think that’s really cool.”

Having grown up outside of Felton, with farm animals, chickens, and turkeys, Oswald may have an advantage in pursuing a simpler lifestyle.

Second jobs

While at the U of M, Oswald always has had a second job, too. Sometimes she has staffed a desk at CSE Student Services; this semester, she was a TA in an introductory CSE course.

In spring, she will be a TA in an anatomy course.

“I love anatomy so much, and I’m super excited,” Oswald says. “It’s so detailed and so personal. It’s a part of you — you can’t see your own organs or bones, but in anatomy, you can see the parts that make you, which is really cool.”

And for fun, she and her sister sometimes get together on a Facetime call to watch a TV show she loves. What would you expect? — It’s “Grey’s Anatomy.”


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