Meet our alumni: Casey Cabrinha '17

Class of 2017

Major: Biology   Minor: Mathematics

Activities at SLU: Dance team, Graceful Movements, Pre-Health Club


Why did you choose SLU to start your pursuit of a health career?

When I was looking into colleges, I knew I wanted to be Pre-Health, so I took particular interest in those institutions that had strong science departments. SLU's wide range of biology classes and faculty interested me, and I knew I wanted a small school so I could work closely with faculty in classes or on research projects. 


What SLU experience has helped you be successful in your professional program and/or current job?

I seemed to always be working on group projects at SLU. These helped me greatly in discovering how to best study in a group of other students, work on a complex dissection with a group of students in anatomy lab, and later how to work well with other students on clinical rotations. 


What course(s) did you find most helpful in preparation for professional school academics?

Cell biology, Microbiology, Biochemistry, Literature and Medicine


What advice do you have for students pursuing a career in your particular field?

Don't be discouraged by thinking you are not good enough to apply to medical school. Anyone can do it if they have the passion and are willing to make some sacrifices along the way--but that does not mean that you have to be studying all through undergrad! Medical schools like to see that you are a person with hobbies and interests outside of medicine! The application process is about so much more than grades. Get involved with clinical/health sciences oriented activities that are meaningful to you and talk about them in your application. There is also absolutely nothing wrong with taking a few years off after undergrad to work and learn and apply to med school (this is what most people in my class did). 


Any unique experiences so far?

My scariest experience of my third year of medical school was when I was working in the psychiatric ICU at a nearby hospital. This is the floor where they put the most acutely ill psychiatric patients, and those at the highest risk of aggression, before they are stabilized and sent to a different floor. It was actually a more relaxed job than you may think: as medical students we spent the day playing cards or doing puzzles with patients, watching TV with them, or going to occupational therapy sessions with them. However, one day, a patient was being violent and had to be restrained, so most of the staff was distracted with him, so another med student and I were standing alone in the hallway. Amidst the chaos, the staff didn't notice another particularly aggressive patient walking directly towards us, staring with no expression in his eyes. We didn't move, unsure if we should start yelling or try to run away. After a few moments, he turned around and walked away without any incident. My favorite part of this story is that a few days later, this same patient was stabilized on medications and was just the nicest guy. He sat with us at breakfast telling us all about his cats, his classes in college, and his girlfriend and was extremely pleasant.  It was great to see so many patients on this floor improve so rapidly with medication and get their true personalities back.