AED Alumni

Will Capell

David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA 

USC Honors College Class of 2017

Major: BS in Chemistry & Biology

AED membership at Carolina was one of my favorite undergrad memories. Being surrounded by individuals with similar goals encouraged me to work hard at the long list of premed requirements – requirements which could seem overwhelming at times. It was reassuring to be in a community to whom I could share my questions, successes, and frustrations with. AED gave me the perspective that I was not the only one trying to navigate my way through undergrad with hopes of getting into med school. Not to mention the resources it made available through sponsoring healthcare professionals, faculty, and upperclassmen. 

If I could go back and change one thing about my experience it would be to join earlier. I made the mistake of waiting until Junior year and definitely missed out on some key opportunities. That said, I really enjoyed contributing to the society as social chair. Between the Carowinds trip, Wild Wings dinner, and Fast Eddies meet & greet I helped plan, it was my mission to relieve classmate stress and have a little fun. Looking back, I met so many amazing and inspiring people. It’s an honor to share my story and I hope that AED continues to provide the same great experience to future students as it did for me.

My number one piece of advice for premed students is to have a direction, but not necessarily a detailed road map. Specifically, I mean to define overarching goals and figure out what major steps should be accomplished in order to succeed; but, at the same time, be open to new opportunities and flexible to change. For instance, I knew I wanted to go to an out-of-state school so I set MCAT, GPA, and research 

Graham Hall

University of South Carolina School of Medicine  

U of SC Class of 2017

Major: BS in Exercise Science

President of AED 2016-2017

Hey guys! It felt like just yesterday that I was sitting in the same seat as many of you are. Eager to learn, seeking direction, and yearning for a community filled with like-minded people passionate about healthcare. AED turned out to be the perfect fit for me, and I hope it has for you as well! 

 

If there is any advice that I can offer you, I would say to be persistent and pursue what YOU are passionate about. At the end of the day, medicine can be a long and daunting journey, so do what you enjoy no matter if it fits the pre-med “mold” or not! One of my favorite quotes is “failure is inevitable, but growth is optional.” There will be countless times where you underperform, get denied from a school or club, or even question the direction of your life, but trust that the lessons learned and will power gained from overcoming that obstacle will prepare you for the patients you will treat and interact with! 

 

If you have any questions about life in medical school or anything else, feel free to reach out! I would be happy to answer! Graham.Hall@uscmed.sc.edu

Taylor Apel, PA-S

Trevecca Nazarene University Nashville, TN

U of SC Honors College Class of 2018

Major: B.S. Exercise Science

As crazy as undergrad is – especially as a pre-health student – it’s such a pivotal time to set and reach goals for the future! From my first day at USC, I was determined to go straight into PA school after graduation without taking a year off (my personal choice, gap years can be awesome too!) AED absolutely helped me accomplish this goal. From the volunteer opportunities to the variety of guest speakers at meetings, AED was one of the best resources I had at USC as I was trying to make good grades, get medical experience, meet new people and still have fun! I loved that AED provided a community of like-minded students and connections to medical professionals while not being overzealous with membership requirements and time constraints. While AED helps you “check off” several things graduate programs are looking for on applications, it really gave me so much more than that. I learned many lessons, whether those be from PA & medical students/medical providers/admissions counselors on what to do and what NOT to do, to taking a leadership role within AED myself, AED challenged me in a way that any future healthcare provider will be challenged – to work as a team with others. The ability to participate and contribute to a group of individuals with different backgrounds, personal experiences and strengths is absolutely key to working in healthcare and I think AED lays an awesome foundation for that kind of interaction.    

            If I have any advice to give to undergraduate students it would be to work hard, approach every situation with a positive attitude and remember BALANCE is everything!! I remember being so focused on my grades and getting into PA school that I often ignored other great opportunities. You will only be in undergrad at USC once and it really does go fast, so do what you love and try new things, even if they are random and have absolutely nothing to do with getting into a professional school! I cannot recommend the Exercise Science program enough. I chose the path where I could add whatever medical pre-reqs I needed in addition to the core science classes that are required by USC. It worked great for me and gave me an integrative understanding of the human body that has been super helpful in PA school! On another note, I am so glad I studied abroad while in undergrad. I highly recommend going abroad or doing something out of your comfort zone before you jump into a rigorous graduate program. 

I’m a big believer that things will work out how they’re supposed to -- just do your best and be open when things don’t always go as planned! 

Sammy Huynh

Graduate Student (MS, Medical Sciences) 2018-2019 

James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine at MUSC

U of SC Class of 2018

Major: BS Biology 

President of AED 2017-2018

Being a part of AED throughout undergrad truly defined those years for me, set in motion many of my endeavors, and have given me proud accomplishments and lessons that have extended beyond USC. It is satisfying to reflect on my journey as an inductee, member, board member, and finally chapter president. The mentors I met and the friends that became family to me are what I continue to cherish the most. The guidance to professional school was something that I anticipated, but everything else that came with it is what made my time with AED special.

I have learned a lot throughout my experience leading AED and beyond, but my piece of advice would be to focus on your own individualized path. Every journey into professional school is unique, but sometimes the pool of undergraduate students pursuing the same goal clouds how personalized each path is. Many of you would define yourselves as students, which is true, but remember that you are more than one label. Once you realize this, you stop comparing yourself to others and gain a greater appreciation for the profession you’re getting into and have a better understanding for your own reasons of pursuit. With that said, loosen up and enjoy your time at USC…and make the most out of being a member of the best AED chapter in the country!

If you ever have any questions about my time with USC/AED, the graduate or dental programs at MUSC, or topics of leadership and organization startups – absolutely contact me via email: shuynh998@gmail.com. Let me know if you’re in the Charleston area, and good luck!

Emilee Dalessio

Thomas Jefferson University Physician Assistant Program

U of SC Class of 2018

Major: B.S. Exercise Science Class

Alpha Epsilon Delta was one of the most beneficial organizations I was involved in during my time at USC. Between memorable chapter meetings featuring the careers of local healthcare professionals, to the Physician's Mixer where aspiring students interacted with great role models, it was the perfect way to explore our futures while in our undergraduate studies. Taking on a leadership position in AED gave me lifelong companions, and a role I was passionate about- helping my peers get the most out of such a great organization.

To my aspiring Physician Assistants:

My best advice I have for you all is GO FOR IT. This embodies a lot of things both inside and outside of the classroom. Get the grades, put in the work, go after opportunities, seek out leadership experience, and chase your dream with everything you got. There are thousands of people out there vying for seats in programs. As stressful as this is, all you can control is YOU! Make yourself the best candidate possible, and the rest will fall into place. My #1 piece of advise during your time as an undergraduate student is to establish a place (either in Columbia, or at home during the summer) to accumulate direct patient care hours (different than volunteer), as most competitive and well-known programs demand upwards of 2,000 hours before applying. Use their program websites to get a feel for what prerequisites you need EARLY, as they all vary and you may need to take some classes not required in your particular major to be considered for enrollment. Also, use AED as a resource to talk to doctors and PA's in the area. Make connections, and shadow to really get a feel for all the different areas of medicine, even if it's just for a few hours. 

If anyone wants to reach out to me personally, I just went through the entire CASPA and interview process all over (both northern and southern schools) and I'd love to help you in any way I can, or if you just need some guidance!

Matthew Willis

James B. Edwards College of Dental Medicine at MUSC

U of SC Class of 2017

Major: BS Biology

AED was an invaluable resource for me. The friendships I made have lasted until today. The opportunities AED can provide are truly unmatched by any other organization. 

My suggestion to undergraduate pre-health students would have to be to take time for relationships. Build new relationships, strengthen old ones, and enjoy your time together. Professional school is not college. Free time is much harder to come by. Enjoy your time in college and make the most of it. Finally, not everyone’s path is the same. What works for one person, won’t work for everyone. Understand that and focus on what works for you.

Allison Willis

MUSC College of Medicine 

U of SC Class of 2018

Major: BS in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology 

 

Being a member of AED was definitely one of the best things I did in undergrad to prepare myself for medical school. The resources and opportunities that AED provides for pre-health students are, without a doubt, extremely valuable during your journey towards professional school. For me, hearing from different professionals, participating in professional and service events, serving on the board as a service chair, and becoming friends with likeminded students who shared similar goals were some of my favorite aspects of AED. Many experiences through AED pushed me out of my comfort zone and helped me to grow as a person during college. 

 

One piece of advice that I have for pre-health students is to enjoy your undergrad years! Don’t get so caught up in the stress of preparing for medical school that you forget to have fun. Take time for yourself, and pursue things that interest you outside of science and medicine. I found during my interviews that my interviewers were often more interested in talking about my hobbies and passions and just getting to know me as a person than in talking about my more academic or medical experiences. Medical schools are interested in interesting people, so do things that you enjoy during undergrad. It will make you stand out in your application and interviews. At the end of the day, it’s not about whether you checked off every box on a list. Rather, it’s about how intelligibly and honestly you can talk about the range of experiences that you had during undergrad and how they worked together to shape you into who you are. 

 

Being a part of AED is a great asset in preparing for professional school. Make the most of the opportunities that AED offers, and good luck in your pre-health years! I’m more than happy to answer questions—feel free to email me at akburrell14@gmail.com.  

Ashley Galvin

Boston, MA

U of SC Class of 2019

Major: B.S. Exercise Science

President of AED 2018-2019

Being a committed member of AED wholly defined my college experience at USC. To be surrounded by individuals who are as invested in their academic and occupational success as you are is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself as a pre-health student. I would not be the employee, student, researcher, colleague, friend, or alumna I am today without this organization. When you invest your time into something like this alongside the completion of your academic pre-health requirements, you become some of the most prepared and eloquent graduates there are. Pursuing various leadership roles in AED allowed me to fine tune skills that will not only make me a more compassionate and competent clinician someday, but that have also made me a better human in the meantime. If I could give any advice to current students, I would say that you don’t have to have a reason for every single thing that you do. You have the freedom to do some things just because you enjoy them. Don’t let your aspirations and drive turn you into someone that only does things to bolster their chances of getting into professional school or to make them appear more qualified. Be kind to yourself and don’t lose sight of the genuine and organic reason you have for wanting to devote your life to the field of medicine.

 

 

Since departing from our beloved Carolina, I have chosen to take time off to pursue research full-time at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute as a clinical research coordinator on various hematologic and oncologic randomized studies and clinical drug trials. The perspective that this time off has already given me is unspeakable. If anyone is considering a gap year (or multiple) or is interested in clinical research, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at Ashley.Galvin@childrens.harvard.edu. Forever to thee!

Reg Taylor

U of SC School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program

U of SC Class of 2019

Major: B.S. Public Health

Historian of AED 2018-2019

Looking back at my undergrad years, there is ONE SINGLE decision I made that changed my life forever, and that was when I decided to join AED.

During my first two years of undergrad, I found myself sitting in the library night after night studying, as I thought grades were everything. Then, one day I realized that I was a successful student; but I was nothing else other than that, I was far from well rounded. I began to feel lost, I needed guidance, motivation, and advice. Then one of my friends told me about AED…

After joining AED my Junior year (Yes, it’s never too late to join!!), I quickly realized how valuable this organization was. One of the most unique and helpful aspects of AED is that each chapter meeting had a different lecturer from a variety of medical career pathways, which helped me redefine my passion to become a Physician Assistant.

One thing I always tell people is AED puts you in the right place, at the right time, as it makes networking easy. I was able to meet so many key players like current PA students, PA-C’s, and PA program directors. I feel this gave me a major advantage when applying and interviewing to PA school, as I had already made these important connections thanks to AED.

 

During my senior year, I served on the Executive Board of AED as Historian, where I redesigned the check-in process and points system. AED allowed me to strengthen my leadership abilities and become a more well-rounded person. Today I attend the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program, where I serve as the Class President of 2022. I truly believe that without AED, I would not have the knowledge and skillset to be the successful leader that I am today. I am also the founding President of the PA-CT program (an AED partnership with USCSOM PA) and I continue to serve the current AED members. 

Today I would not be the person I am, or even be where I am, without the skills and opportunities that AED afforded me. I will forever be thankful for my time in AED and strongly encourage anyone reading this to use AED to your advantage to become the best student/applicant you can be.

If you have any questions about PA school or my time in AED, feel free to reach out to me at Reg.Taylor@uscmed.sc.edu