Liana Saleh: Practicing Medicine And Poetry

Psychology has it that the left-brain controls calculated, logical thinking, while the right-brain enables creativity and artistic senses. Those of us who root our understanding of the world in algorithms and equations tend to find difficulty making sense of the non-linear facets of life. Likewise, those of us who view life through the vibrant lens of creativity often feel strained when our world, stimulated by imagination, is reduced.

Liana Saleh, a University of Richmond senior, breaks the mold as she is a Biology Major and a Creative Writing minor.

When asked why she chose to pursue these fields of study, Saleh said she is studying Biology because she is passionate about science and people. She was recently accepted into Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine and can’t wait to become a doctor.

Her biggest inspirations are her parents. Growing up with a cardiothoracic surgeon father and an anesthesiologist mother gave Saleh a greater appreciation for professionals in the medical field.

“People go to doctors when they are the most scared they’ll ever be in their life,” Saleh said. “And I want to be the person that’s there to help them.”

After a moment of laughter, she said, “and doctors are going to be the only valuable profession after the apocalypse.”

When Saleh’s not pipetting in a lab, you can find her writing short fiction or poetry for her Creative Writing minor. Though she has been writing poetry since seventh grade, it wasn’t until college that she began to integrate her love of science into her artistic work.

During her time as a UR undergrad, Saleh has written sixty science-inspired poems in a collection called scientia she plans to one day publish. The following piece virus is an excerpt from her anthology.

“Science is the art of life,” Saleh said in the synopsis of her collection. “The light behind every sunset in every poem, the color in every ocean sung about since music evolved.”

Though science and art don’t often cross paths, Saleh says “science and poetry are one and the same even though they keep a distance.” She strives to harness the beauty of both through her art and she says at their core, science and poetry both aim to define humanity. 

At UR, Saleh has served as the Executive Editor of Osmosis Magazine, a science and healthcare publication, and is a member of Pi Beta Phi Fraternity. Looking back on her four years, she says her favorite thing about UR is that it is small enough for people to make a lot of close friends. She also said the campus aesthetics don’t hurt either.

When asked what her most memorable moment at UR was, Saleh said, “that’s a really hard question.”

After noting how she feels like she’s been here forever yet also feels like college just began, she said her favorite college memory would have to be her sorority’s philanthropy event her sophomore year. Pi Beta Phi’s Lip-Sync for Literacy is an annual event where campus organizations come together for a lip-syncing competition judged by faculty and staff. All profits of the event go to Pi Beta Phi’s national philanthropy, Lead Read Achieve.

“That’s when I started becoming a part of the campus,” Saleh said.

With graduation nearing, Saleh is nostalgic about leaving her friends but excited for what her future holds.

Before she leaves, Saleh said if she could give one piece of advice to freshmen she would say, “Keep an open mind about who to become friends with because you can find really good friends in places you wouldn’t expect at UR.”

An accomplished student, a talented writer, and a caring friend, Saleh is truly the jack of all trades.