While many business majors are preparing for careers in advertising, investment banking, or corporate accounting, sophomore Elizabeth Popp’s sights are set on medicine.

The Business Honors and management major is using her time at Texas A&M’s Mays Business School to prepare for a career in pediatric surgery. “I love working with kids,” Popp said. “They are so resilient and happy, which makes them a joy to be around.”

She said she decided to major in business so she will be better equipped to run her own practice. “I wanted to broaden my horizons with business knowledge to complement my future studies in medicine.”

Popp said studying at Mays has helped her learn skills that are important for doctors – like effective communication and leadership. “At Mays, I’ve learned how to work in diverse team settings by using different leadership styles and decision-making frameworks.” She added that outside the classroom, too, “Wehner’s social atmosphere adds a nice contrast to the more serious tone found in the science buildings.”

Popp can also add to her resume being published in a global research journal. As a research experience undergraduate (REU) at Texas A&M’s Center for Health Organization Transformation (CHOT), she contributed to a research project overseen by Bita A. Kash and Jane N. Bolin that aims to develop a healthcare model for the state of Texas. The study was recently accepted for publication in the International Journal for Innovation Science.

She was tasked with finding the biggest problems in the Texas healthcare system. “Heart disease, stroke, and cancer are very widespread issues,” she said, “but the most surprising problem we came across was the severe shortage of and access to physicians in the state.”

Popp conducted a systematic literature review to discover existing models that address these healthcare issues to guide the creation of a new model for Texas. For example, “we found a blood pressure monitoring program that can be operated at home, which addresses both heart disease and physician access.” She said the project gave her an opportunity to synthesize her knowledge of medicine from her health classes with her knowledge about organizations from her business classes.

She believes all students can benefit from exploring outside of their specific major. “Be open to doing research or at least seeing how other fields tie in with your own,” she said. “It can open up a lot of doors, not just for job opportunities but even in casual conversations.”

Lesley Tomaszewski, managing director for the CHOT, called Popp one of the best student workers she has ever supervised. “Elizabeth commits herself to any task assigned to her, regardless how small, with an incredibly positive attitude,” she said. “She is eager to take on new tasks and make connections between them and her future goals.”

In addition to her research contributions, Popp serves as a peer leader for Freshman Business Initiative (FBI) and is a member of Texas A&M Crew, the university’s rowing team.