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Welcome to our first Tuesday with Tulsa blog post! On Tuesdays, we want to feature guest blog posts from the TU community- alumni, students, faculty, and anyone else that is affiliated with TU and has something they want to say.
Today’s blog post is by Britney Grayson, a TU alum who is finishing up a combined MD-PhD program at Vanderbilt University. Thanks, Britney, for contributing to our blog!
Hello from Nashville! My name is Britney Grayson. I am a Tulsa native (graduate of Booker T. Washington High School and the International Baccalaureate Program) and alumna of The University of Tulsa, class of 2004. I am delighted that many of you reading are considering TU for college. I’d love to share a little bit of my story with you including why I am so thankful that I chose TU for my undergraduate education.
All of my life, I’ve wanted to be a doctor. From playing with “Doctor Barbie” as a child to shadowing physicians in high school, the desire was constant. When applying to colleges, my specific goal was to choose an institution that would prepare me well for medical school. I applied to a number of top schools, including an Ivy League, and was accepted to all of them. Then came the hard part. What made one school different from the others? Could I find anything that set one university apart? I did. In addition to small class sizes, world class faculty and a thriving community on campus, TU’s commitment to undergraduate education made it stand out in the crowd. I realized that at some of the schools I visited, there was a disconnect between the faculty and the undergraduates; a chasm filled with many graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. But at TU, it is the faculty who taught those small classes and undergraduates were given more opportunities to lead than at any other school I was considering. It was one of the leading factors in my decision and I was not disappointed.
As an undergrad, I worked in a biological sciences lab, a strategic ploy to make myself the most attractive medical school applicant as possible. My first project was assisting a graduate student in her experiments while I learned the basics of lab work. After one semester of being a lab assistant, I was given the opportunity (as a sophomore) to create and investigate my own research project. I worked with my professor/mentor to create a project that blended his interests in ion channels with my interest in autoimmune diseases. We developed a hypothesis, tested it and ultimately created new knowledge. When an experiment didn’t work, it was up to me to figure it out. The independence I was given as a researcher was priceless and led me to realize that I wanted to incorporate research into my medical career.
My senior year at TU, I applied to combined MD-PhD programs. I was accepted at Vanderbilt University and, eight years later, I am in my final year of medical school (graduation is in 191 days… but who’s counting? J). My experiences at TU indeed prepared me for a successful medical school and graduate school career. In 2010, I completed a PhD in Immunology and my research took me all the way to Cambridge University in England where I had the opportunity to tell researchers from all over the world about my work.
During my hospital rotations in the last 18 months, I have decided I want to be a surgeon. Last week I was in San Francisco for the American College of Surgeons conference and I am excited to begin interviewing for residency soon.
In July of next year, I will begin a surgical residency training program with the goal of becoming a kidney transplant surgeon. After my surgical training, I intend to return to research part time, continuing my investigation into autoimmune diseases that began at the University of Tulsa.
My schooling has taken me all over the world, with more to come, and I owe my success in large part to the solid educational foundation I received at The University of Tulsa. Again, I am so excited for all of you as you embark on this wonderful journey and strongly encourage you to consider TU. At The University of Tulsa you will not only receive a great education but also be prepared for success in all your future endeavors. Best of luck to you all!