Jessica Duran, The Double-Thinker





Consider double major Jessica Duran before making generalizations about “right-brained” versus “left-brained” thinking. Her brain fires impressively on both sides, illustrated by her two disparate fields of study: music and biochemistry.


Jessica Duran playing a small piano

“They’re complete opposites, but I just couldn’t pick between the two,” Duran said. “Science is so intense I thought I would have to give up music, but I’ve been playing piano since I was 3. All it took was one music theory class for me to realize how much more I have to learn about music. Luckily I can do both.”

Duran’s schedule fires on all cylinders, too. In addition to her lab work and practice on the piano, she feeds the homeless with Help for the Homeless, volunteers at Florida Hospital, and has started Dance Therapy, similar to an organization she created in high school that provides tap, hip-hop, and ballet lessons to kids with disabilities. Duran spent one summer break at MIT studying genetics and another at Yale shadowing physicians and researching gene therapies.

True to her double-thinking ways, Duran doesn’t have a simple medical degree in mind: She intends to pursue both an M.D. and a Ph.D. so she can conduct cutting-edge research and work as a practicing physician at the same time.

“I feel very fortunate at Rollins, to be able to study in a liberal arts environment,” she said. “If I had had to limit myself to only one subject, I would feel like such a lopsided person.”


Majors: Biochemistry & Music
Hometown: Windermere , FL
Little-known fact: Completed summer research at both MIT and Yale
Listens to: Debussy’s Clair de Lune
Favorite literary character: Elizabeth Bennett
Known for: The smile
Admits to… hating the word “impossible”
Favorite toy as a child: Doctor’s kit (still has it)
You did what? Went skydiving
Nickname: Jessie
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, toast, fruit
Favorite quote: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” (Martin Luther King, Jr.)
In 10 years: Physician. Musician




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