Alumni Statements

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Kelly Reid
UofSC Class of 2022
Vice President of AED 2021-2022

Going into my freshman year at the University of South Carolina, I truly had no direction or guidance as to how to pursue the physical therapy profession. I was an out-of-state student who knew no one, and I didn’t know where to start on my collegiate journey.

 

I saw a table at the Fall 2019 Student Organization Fair that looked really interesting to me:  Alpha Epsilon Delta, the pre-health professional honor society. After learning more about this organization, I knew instantly I wanted to become a part of it. After being accepted into AED, I was instantly paired with a mentor who was one the same track as me, and through her, I became friends with hundreds of other members very quickly. I constantly asked her for assistance and advice as to what classes I should take, and how to better myself to become a qualified applicant for graduate schools. Through the social, service, professional, and chapter events, I gained so much experience and met so many like-minded peers, and I truly found my community and a “home away from home” within AED.

 

When asked what was the most valuable aspect AED gave to me, it was so hard to choose just one thing. However, AED made the biggest impact on me with my professional growth. As a freshman, I owned no business casual clothes, I had no idea how to write a professional email, and I didn’t know how to network with professionals. Because of this wonderful organization, I have tremendously grown into the mature professional that I am today, and without AED, I would have never learned these vital skills.

 

After just a year of being an AED member, I wanted to give back, and decided to serve as Social Chair for the 2020-2021 school year. I took pride in being able to come up with creative and fun events that would help bond our members together. While it was difficult due to strict pandemic guidelines, I enjoyed seeing members becoming friends during a very stressful time in our lives.

 

During the 2021-2022 school year, I wanted to contribute even more to the organization, and was elected as the Vice President. Being Vice President helped me practice what AED had taught me: reaching out to healthcare professionals, supporting every member of our organization, and networking. Because of this role and my interaction with professionals, I received an internship at a local physical therapy clinic, where I received hundreds of shadowing hours, and got offered a job there for my gap year after graduation.

 

To sum it all up, without AED, I would have never gotten to where I am today. I am now a University of South Carolina graduate holding a B.S. in Exercise Science, with countless friends and professional connections, holding a job as a Front Desk Coordinator for a physical therapy business. During the summer of 2022, I am planning on taking the GRE and applying to graduate schools to receive my Doctorate in Physical Therapy (DPT). I can assure you that AED will help you along your pre-professional track, and will give you invaluable experiences that you can share with your new best friends and take with you for the rest of your journey.

me. It's easy.

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Grace Towery
UofSC Class of 2022
Gap Year - Dental Assistant at Carolina's Children Dentistry of Columbia

Joining AED was one of the best decisions I made during undergrad. Upon applying, I saw it as an opportunity to explore different pre-health tracks and get connected to volunteer opportunities in Columbia. However, joining AED provided me with a network of outstanding, driven, ambitious peers who motivated me to be the best pre-health student possible. I heard from inspiring speakers from all areas in healthcare. I learned from and was encouraged by current professional students. Most importantly, I made lifelong friends, reconnected with old friends, and built a network of future colleagues to whom I can wholeheartedly trust to refer my patients as a dentist in the future. 

 

One of the most important lessons I learned as a member of AED is that everyone has their own journey to their desired pre-health track. Some students go straight into professional school after only 3-4 years of undergrad, some take gap years, and some students fulfill completely different careers before they end up pursuing healthcare. Everyone is different, and AED is a perfect representation of that. 

 

I am beyond grateful for my time in AED, and my only regret is not joining sooner. I am confident that the friends I have made through this organization will stand by me and the memories I have made will last a lifetime. For anyone considering applying- do it! You’ll be thankful you did. AED is a great asset for all things related to professional school applications and provides an encouraging environment in which students can truly thrive and celebrate each others’ success. Feel free to reach out with any questions- towerygrace@yahoo.com

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Reg Taylor
UofSC School of Medicine Physician Assistant Program
UofSC Class of 2019
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

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Ashley Galvin

Boston, MA

UofSC Class of 2019

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!

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Matthew Willis

MUSC College of Dental Medicine

UofSC Class of 2018

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.

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Allison Willis

MUSC College of Medicine 

UofSC Class of 2018

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.