Duncan Tallman ’23: An interview

Written by Dr. Marcela T. Garcés

Duncan Tallman ’23 completed a Spanish major with a Biology minor at Siena College.
During his academic career, he was a successful, dedicated and engaged student both inside and outside the classroom. Last summer, he applied his studies to volunteer with a community in Lima, Perú to develop mobile medical clinics. Duncan also completed a short-term study abroad program in Salamanca, Spain.
This summer, he spent time in Costa Rica helping run medical mobile clinics with a university from Puerto Rico before he starts medical school in the fall. Referring to his experience in Costa Rica, Duncan was enthusiastic about using his Spanish: “between working with my co-volunteers and the patients, I am getting so much practice with my Spanish!” He noted that Dr. Garcés’s course, Medical Spanish, was of particular use to him. It is offered each spring and is a Franciscan Social Justice Core course. Garcés designed numerous activities about social justice in medical situations for students to go in depth with the course content. Duncan was able to apply his knowledge of social justice in Costa Rica: “we provided healthcare to individuals that lack adequate access to necessary healthcare. It was not only an amazing
learning experience, but an opportunity to provide a human right to those that do not have access.” 
In addition, in Medical Spanish, students practice their conversational skills by talking regularly with medically trained native Spanish speakers online through a platform called Talk Abroad. This practice came in handy for Duncan in Costa Rica this summer, as he noted “it feels good to be able to use the skills I learned in the real world, however, I have a lot more learning to do!” Learning a language is definitely a lifelong pursuit, and we look forward to hearing more about Duncan’s adventures in the future!

Photos provided by Duncan Tallman.