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Medical Student at Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine

Dawn Wright

Dawn Wright

  • Job Title/Company or Program/School: Medical Student at Virginia Tech, Carilion School of Medicine
  • (Undergraduate) Graduation Year: 2018
  • Neuroscience Major: Clinical Neuroscience

What is your role currently? What do your day-to-day tasks look like?

I am a first-year medical student at VTCSOM, and a recipient of the Army Health Profession Scholarship Program scholarship. My daily life consists of working in small groups to explore our problem-based curriculum, learning ultrasound imaging techniques, and gaining valuable clinical experience. While much of my time is spent studying, I am surrounded by the wonderful city of Roanoke and many opportunities to grow as a learner and a community member.

How did your education within the School of Neuroscience prepare you for your current role?

The School of Neuroscience helped me to become more confident in my presentation and interpersonal skills. The foundation of knowledge that I acquired through my education at Virginia Tech has been phenomenal in helping me navigate these first few months as a medical student. The connections that were forged in the Carilion network while I was an undergrad, as well as the experience working in laboratories at VT, has helped me immensely as I form relationships in my new community as well as in the hospital and research institution. I am very fortunate to have been a student at the Virginia Tech School of Neuroscience because I believe it has afforded me these opportunities.

What are your ultimate career goals? When you first started college, was this your first career choice?

When I first started college, all I knew was that I was good at science and I wanted to learn more about the brain. As my education progressed, I found my studies in neuroscience and biology fascinating, and I flourished in an environment where I could study and investigate alongside my peers. I became involved in programs such as College Mentors for Kids, the Neuroscience Club, and Be the Match which shaped my involvement in the Virginia Tech community. The most impactful experience that shaped my career in medicine was the Clinical Neuroscience in Practice course led by Dr. Sontheimer and the VT Carilion Neurosurgery team. Ultimately, my goal is to become a surgeon and I hope to continue to shadow and learn more about the field as a medical student.

What recommendations would you give to current or prospective students?

To current and prospective students, I would recommend trying to find your passion and pursue it wholeheartedly. Not everyone’s path is clear and defined, and some people take longer to find what they love. Don’t be discouraged because you are not following the same path as your peer. Every day I am surrounded by 42 incredible people who all have different experiences than me and we all still ended up in the same place, working towards the same goal. I also urge current and prospective students never to refrain from asking for help or asking someone to share their story. You never know what you can learn from someone just by asking a simple question. Reach out, get involved, and never be afraid of new opportunities!