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2019 Graduate Begins Medical School at the University of Missouri School of Medicine

Published on 12 September 2019

As opportunities for students to explore career paths in the health professions continue to expand at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, increasing numbers of students are finding their place in health care through the College’s health care-focused curriculum and the access it provides to top institutions within the Washington University Medical Campus.

Kristen Vu, B.S. ’19, is one of these students. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences from the College last spring, Vu began her M1 year at the University of Missouri School of Medicine in August.

“When looking at colleges in high school, I ultimately knew that I liked pharmacy and medicine but wasn’t sure which career path I liked better,” Vu said. “I chose St. Louis College of Pharmacy because of the location on the Washington University Medical Campus and the access I would have to some of the top physicians and pharmacists in the nation. I wanted to be able to shadow and find where I fit best.”

During her time at the College, Vu jumped into campus life and quickly began exploring her career options, assuming executive positions in various organizations, shadowing physicians and pharmacists and taking a job at a local CVS Pharmacy as a pharmacy technician.

“STLCOP gave me a lot of opportunities that wouldn’t have been possible at a larger college,” Vu said. “Throughout my time at the College, I was able to be an athlete, resident assistant, concert band member, executive board member of multiple organizations and a research student. There were countless ways for me to explore both my personal and professional interests.”

Vu says it was the health care focused curriculum at the College that ultimately helped her find her path to medical school.

“It’s interesting to learn about the pharmaceutics behind the science,” Vu said. “This really got me interested in medicine because we learned not just about what drugs do, but also how to apply this information in a real-world setting. STLCOP does a great job of integrating course materials and demonstrating the relevance of concepts in real life situations. Now that I’m in medical school, I feel like I have really been prepared well and have a strong academic background because of the courses I took while at STLCOP.”

Also during her time at the College, Vu was able to participate in research alongside Melanie VanDyke, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology. Vu and VanDyke examined how students and older family members with caregivers adhered to medication, comparing the two populations.

“Being able to participate in research was so interesting,” Vu said. “It also allowed me to have something intriguing to talk about during my interviews for medical school.”

When it came time to apply and interview for medical school, Vu reached out to the Health Professions Advisory Committee, led by Jeramia Ory, Ph.D., associate professor of biochemistry and undergraduate health professions advisor, for help preparing for her interview and navigating the application process.

The Health Professions Advisory Committee was established to help students explore the opportunities available in health care. The committee helps students prepare for interviews, reviews applications and resumes, and provides students with much-needed recommendations if they choose to apply for a professional program.

“The committee and Dr. Ory really helped me prepare for medical school,” Vu said. “Through the mock-interviews and the discussions we had, I gained valuable feedback and was able to narrow down my list of schools.”

As Vu moves on with her education, she’ll always remember the lasting impression her professors at the College left on her and their role in helping her prepare for her future career.

“I think every professor has impacted me in a different way,” Vu said. “Whether it was my science professors showing me the importance and excitement of exploring science outside of the classroom, my English professors helping me improve my writing, or the professors who took the time to write sweet and important recommendations, they’ve all contributed to my journey to medical school in a very meaningful way.”

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