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Texas A&M women's and gender studies major Odyssey Olmos smiles for the camera while sitting beside two suitcases in a tree-lined background setting
Odyssey Olmos '24 | Image: Courtesy photo

When Odyssey Olmos ’24 originally enrolled as a transfer student at Texas A&M University, she planned to continue down the pre-medicine track she had started in high school, driven by her passion for women’s health. What she never expected was for one class in the Women’s and Gender Studies (WGST) program to provide her with new opportunities and even inspire her to change her major.

Growing up, Olmos developed a connection with the healthcare industry, specifically women’s health, through her mother, who worked in the OB-GYN department. Even throughout her high school career, she found opportunities in the field: working as a biomedical ambassador; joining the emergency medical technician team; scribing and volunteering. She hoped these experiences would one day be useful when she accomplished her goal of becoming a physician.

“I did everything under the sun to get a head start,” Olmos said. “I always did what I felt like I was supposed to do in order to become a physician. I got through all those things and checked all my marks, but I didn’t feel like I was there emotionally.”

Texas A&M women's and gender studies major Odyssey Olmos poses after receiving her Aggie Ring with the jumbotron at Kyle Field in the background
Odyssey Olmos '24 is all smiles after receiving her Aggie Ring earlier this month. | Image: Courtesy photo

Starting her freshman year of college at Texas A&M University-Commerce as a biology major, Olmos attempted to continue down the pre-med track she had been working toward.

After a year and a half of struggling to connect with her major and her school, Olmos decided to transfer to Texas A&M during the spring semester of her sophomore year. But even in Aggieland, there was still something missing, she said.

“I knew something was wrong when I came to A&M and I absolutely loved the environment, but I still wasn’t enjoying any part of being pre-med,” Olmos said. “That was a light bulb for me. I told myself, ‘Okay, change everything,’ because I needed to figure out what I was doing.”

During her junior year, Olmos registered for a WGST course, and she said she immediately knew she had found her home at Texas A&M.  

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘Oh, this is it — this is everything I want to do,’” Olmos said. “I immediately loved the educational part of it and learning more about women’s health.” 

While Olmos planned on using her passion for women’s health in the medical field, the class she took allowed her to see the different avenues that were available, she said.

Texas A&M women's and gender studies major Odyssey Olmos, standing by an exhibit for Latino Logradores in the Student Programs Office within the Memorial Student Center
In addition to majoring in women's and gender studies and minoring in psychology, Olmos serves as executive director for the Latino freshman student success program Latino Logradores (LatiLo). | Image: Courtesy photo

“Women’s health touches on so many different things,” Olmos said. “It’s personal; it’s political; it relates to business. It’s a part of pretty much everything. It was interesting to learn how it affects so much, and people just don’t realize it.”

In terms of changing her major, Olmos said one of the most influential factors was the faculty surrounding the program. Not only did her advisors help her customize a degree plan that allowed her to graduate on time, but they also were able to connect her with research teams for extra experience.

The smaller student-to-teacher ratios also have allowed Olmos to forge vital and personal relationships with her professors, she said.

“Talking to my professors is completely different now because we have something that connects us — our mutual interest and love for learning about how gender affects society and how deep of an issue it truly is,” Olmos said. “When they found out I transitioned from pre-med, they went out of their way to connect me with medical topics that they thought I would like.”

The inclusivity of WGST as well as the newfound opportunities it provides have helped Olmos improve her mental health since she switched majors last year, she said. Now that she has her passion and a major that allows her to dive deeper than ever into it, she no longer worries about being stuck in a career without a connection.

“It took me looking at my classes and looking at my future to realize that pre-med was not what I wanted to do at all,” Olmos said. “I’d rather be uncomfortable changing my major than uncomfortable for my whole life in a career that I’m not passionate about. I love what I’m doing now, and I don’t think I could have found it anywhere other than A&M.”


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