Student Spotlight:  Mary McGunigal

1.) What was the full name of the program you were accepted into?
I was accepted to the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, located in New York City, via the Mount Sinai Humanities and Medicine Early Acceptance Program.

2.) What exactly does the program offer and what got you interested in it over other schools’?
The program offers an early guaranteed admission to Mount Sinai School of Medicine. It specifically targets first semester sophomore humanities majors interested in attending medical school. If accepted into the program, students are not permitted to take the physics or organic chemistry courses required for medical school at their undergraduate institutions and are exempt from the MCAT. A required component of the program is an 8-week summer session at Mount Sinai consisting of physics and organic chemistry as well as weekly rotations shadowing physicians of various specialties, which takes place between your undergraduate junior and senior years. I was interested in the program because it offers more flexibility for exploration of my interests as a humanities major. At Mount Sinai, my interview group was given a tour of the school and I absolutely fell in love with it. Mount Sinai puts a lot of emphasis on community service, and many of its strongest departments – such as geriatrics and infectious diseases – attracted me as potential specialties. The program, and the school itself, were just such a great fit.

3.) What was the application process like?
The application consisted of essays, transcripts, SAT scores, and recommendations from my Latin teacher Professor Suter, my high school teacher and guidance counselor Ms. Hoyt, and director of Project Bridge Leah Holmes for whom I worked as a research assistant. The admissions committee evaluates your high school and college record, with the requirement of a year of both biology and general chemistry college courses. After the October application deadline, selected applicants are invited to Mount Sinai for an interview. I traveled to Mount Sinai’s campus on the Upper East Side for my interview in November. On December 23, the program director, Dr. Rifkin, notified me of my acceptance, which was the absolute best Christmas present ever!

4.) What do you hope to do in the field of medicine and why?
I don’t know nearly enough to say what I’ll do in the field of medicine, and am considering everything from AIDs research to palliative care. As long as I’m helping others I’ll be happy.

5.) Please provide a brief background on yourself (how you got to URI, what you do/study here, etc)
I’m a junior classical studies major at URI, which means I study the languages and cultures of ancient Greece and Rome. I can’t say enough good things about URI classics department. My experience in the major, from the small classes to supportive professors, has been wonderful! Outside of the classroom, I’m involved in extracurricular activities including the URI Classics Society and the URI Chapter of National Society of Collegiate Scholars (NSCS) and am excited to be serving as Vice President of both societies this year. In my community, I enjoy volunteering at nursing homes. Last summer, at the Miriam Hospital in Providence, I assisted in HIV research. This summer, I was fortunate enough to study abroad with Professor Carpenter in Italy and Greece through the URI in Greece Program. Though only halfway through my college career, I�m incredibly thankful for the opportunities I’ve had at URI through the Honors Program. For example, last semester I spent spring break in Birmingham, Alabama, volunteering for Habitat for Humanity with my honors colloquium class.

I am particularly grateful to Honors Program Professor Von Reinhart, who informed me of the Humanities and Medicine Program.

6.) Do you have any advice for students considering medicine?
In general, my advice would be to just explore interests you’re passionate about and pursue them. Find experiences that will provide exposure to the medical field and enable you to decide if you like medicine. Try new things and stick with what you like best, because college is too short not to spend time doing what you love.

Think Big We Do

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