Scope is our annual creative journal. Inside, you'll find short stories, photography, poetry, paintings, and more from current medical students at the Georgetown University School of Medicine. 

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Scope, Volume 2

When we set out to make this year’s Scope, we knew we had big shoes to fill. Scope Vol. 1 showcased incredible student talent, demonstrated a beautifully artistic design, and wove into its pages the human experience through the lens of art. The success of the inaugural edition of Scope was intimidating, yet provided an opportunity to learn and build off of the solid foundation built before us.

As we began to create Scope Vol. 2, we realized this sense of intimidation, comparison, and fear of not succeeding is not isolated to our experience with Scope, but can unfortunately be quite pervasive in our lives as medical students. We often feel overwhelmed in medicine, especially as medical students, by the amount we have to learn, the number of people we have to learn from, and the expectations we place on ourselves to heal. Our greatest gift and privilege – a life devoted to our patients - can also be a heavy weight to bear. It is during these times of self-doubt that we reflect back on our commitment to service and on the foundations that guide our education and build our character.

At Georgetown University School of Medicine, a core pillar of both curriculum and practice is the Catholic and Jesuit principle of cura personalis. Translated as “care of the whole person,” cura personalis challenges us to seek a more individualized approach to patient care by acknowledging and letting flourish the gifts and talents of others. With this as our foundation, it is easy to see why student groups such as Arts and Medicine thrive here: they allow us to dig deeper into ourselves and learn how to care for the parts of us that are not assessed with lab draws and CT scans. In essence, Arts and Medicine, as well as Scope, allows us to practice both the art and science of medicine each day.

Art is not only an outlet of self-expression and stress relief, but is deeply integrated within medicine. It exists in the center, not in addition to, our journey to become physicians and practice medicine. We believe that Scope Vol. 2 brings this sentiment to life, and provides a glimpse into the astounding creativity, talent, and thoughtfulness cultivated at

Georgetown University School of Medicine. We invite you to witness firsthand the evolving talents and artwork of those whom we proudly claim as classmates and colleagues.

In the pages of Scope Vol. 2 that follow, we present something that is both intimately inspired from Vol. 1 and something entirely of its own - authentic and creative in new ways.

~ The Editors, Scope Volume 2

Karin Collins, Emilie Fortman, Emily Lai, Erin McDonough, Marilyn McGowan, Herminio “Jet” Navia

Scope, Volume 1

When the idea for Scope was still in its infancy sometime last spring, I don’t think any of us had a fully formed idea about what it would be, what it could maybe become, or that we’d be cooped up in a library the week after finals, still working on it. In a way, it speaks to a certain element of unpredictability innate in the paths we’ve chosen by pursuing medicine.

What follows in these pages is far more than just a representation of our initial hopes and expectations for this publication; it is a subversion in the most pleasing sense. What we mean to say is: none of us expected to receive 50 plus submissions, representing photography, poetry, and various forms of illustration from our equally overworked and sleep-deprived classmates when we first sat down to iron out a general vision. The overwhelming response from our classmates got us thinking about medicine, and about why, based on the pieces you’re about to see and read, they seem to merge so naturally.

Before lab results are interpreted, before X-rays and CT scans are ordered, and before diagnoses are finalized, physicians trade primarily in stories. We are told repeatedly throughout our medical education about the importance of getting a good history from our patients, and what is a patient history if not a condensed, formalized, snapshot expression of that patient’s personal narrative? The physician-patient relationship is typically one forged between complete strangers who need to quickly find common ground in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the patient. Conceptualizing medicine in such terms may not seem the most practical or even useful, but we believe it speaks to a shared desire in both the arts and in medicine; that is, the desire to establish human understanding and connection. Amidst the long hours and energy spent, we as students and future doctors are fulfilled by the opportunity to understand another human being and the privilege of the physician-patient bond. Thus, an appreciation or execution of art is not simply a hobby or an escape from our daily studies, but an opportunity to exercise the same personal expression, passion, and recognition of another individual.

The accessibility of one’s experiences, thoughts, and sentiments establishes human connectivity between artist and reader or viewer. Art offers an opportunity for personal validation as well as the realization of shared experience. When faced with a work of art, the viewer not only seeks to gain an understanding of the artist's original intent, but he or she also relates to the work from a subjective standpoint, one molded from a unique life experience. Sometimes a work of art can tell us as much about ourselves as it can about its creator. This is the power that is conferred on art; the power to express the individual as the creator, while simultaneously resonating with not just one audience member, but with an astonishingly large pool of individuals.

This volume of Scope contains the artistic manifestations of Georgetown medical students. Submissions range from visual art to poetry to short stories, which have been contemplatively paired by the editors. Consider the theme of this first volume to be a visual incarnation of the mission of Arts and Medicine. Arts and Medicine celebrates the creative talents of our students and champions the Jesuit concept of the magis or “do more.”

We hope that Scope serves as reminder to our community here at Georgetown of the many diverse ways artistic expression can be fostered, even in such a clinical and scientific profession as medicine. We hope that future classes of multitalented and creative medical students maintain this as a representation of the many facets that comprise a true physician outside of the basic science knowledge we wrestle with on a nearly daily basis. And most of all, we hope you learn something you didn’t know about a classmate, a friend, a mentor, or a student.

- The Editors, Scope Volume 1

Johan Clarke, Dylan Conroy, Joe Cramer, John Guzzi, Marielle Mahan, Christine Papastamelos, Zach Winchester