Meet our alumni: Danielle Clifford '17

Class of 2017

Major: Biology

Activities at SLU: Anatomy and Physiology TA, Biology Peer Tutor, Science Writing Center Tutor, Chi Omega, Tri Beta Biological Honor Society, Phi Beta Kappa, American Chemical Society, Pre-Health Club, SLU Buddies


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

I wanted both a scientific and liberal arts education and SLU was the perfect fit to accommodate both. I remember visiting on accepted students day, seeing Johnson Hall of Science, and truly envisioning myself thriving at SLU. I was impressed by the opportunities for students to conduct research and appreciated the small class sizes SLU offered for more intimate learning experiences. 


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

There were many experiences from SLU that helped me throughout medical school. My time at SLU helped me learn how to critically think and the classes I took helped me become a more hardworking and disciplined student. The strong science background at SLU really helped during the first two years of medical [school] (the basic science years). SLU enabled me to challenge myself during my undergraduate education and to develop strong study habits, which greatly aided in my success throughout medical school. 


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

The Biology courses, especially Anatomy & Physiology, Genetics, Immunology, and Biochemistry helped me the most during medical school. I did not take Microbiology, but I believe this would also be a helpful course to take at SLU in preparation for medical school. Medical school is incorporating more public health into the curriculum (and it is important to practicing medicine), so taking courses in the social sciences is also a good idea. 


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

If your dream is to go into the field of medicine, do not give up on it! I felt that I had to go straight from undergrad to medical school, but the norm is to take gap year(s) to study for the MCAT, do research, work as a scribe, gain experience, etc. If you know you want to attend medical school, make sure you know what courses are required and be sure to take the MCAT/ apply early in the application cycle. Also, make sure to research and learn about all healthcare professions (ex, PA, NP, PT, Psychology, Social Work) to make sure you find a field that matches your professional and life goals. 


Any unique experiences so far?

I was part of the Rural Medical Scholars Program at SUNY Upstate, which means that during my clinical year (3rd year), I was able to complete rotations (family medicine, surgery, electives) at a rural location. I was located in the Clifton Springs/ Newark NY area, but there is the option to return to the North Country! A few students each year complete rotations at Canton/Potsdam Hospital. I plan to practice in a small town/ rural area, so this experience was a great opportunity to learn about rural healthcare needs.