The path ahead

Published: September 22nd, 2016

Category: Scholarships

By Tyler Francischine

Alexis Germain

Alexis Germain, MS1. Photo by Mindy C. Miller

For Alexis Germain, MS1, receiving the Dean’s Preeminence Scholarship means freedom — freedom to pursue the fields she’s interested in without fear of financial backlash.

“You hear about the rising cost of medical education, which can restrict the choices we make,” she says. “Receiving a scholarship allows medical students to take the path that fits them best and choose what might not be the most lucrative field.”

The Dean’s Preeminence Scholarship’s “Sponsor a Medical Student” fund is made possible by the contributions of orthopaedic surgeons John Hendrickson M.D., and Fred Huang M.D., and it provides funding to Germain through her four years of schooling.

Germain, who received a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tufts University, is intrigued by the field of geriatric care. When she was an emergency medical technician in Massachusetts, she worked with many elderly patients, transporting them to regular appointments for dialysis or assisting them after a fall. She calls the experience “illuminating.”

“I ended up building relationships with some of these patients and learned a lot about what they were going through, and conversely, the issues their doctors must deal with,” she says. “The patients’ goals should be taken into account. I want to deal with patients in a way so that our goals are aligned.”

She’s also interested in oncology, specifically in the emerging areas of personalized medicine and targeted therapy, which pinpoint an individual’s mutation instead of treating his or her diagnosis.

“Every day there’s something new in cancer care. The research is taking off,” she says. “I’m excited to see in my lifetime the level of improvement of care.”

The St. Johns, Florida, native says she chose UF for medical school because of its warm atmosphere.

“The sense of community is so palpable,” she says. “Everyone says that when you visit their school, but this was the only place I could feel that from the students.”

In her spare time, Germain enjoys playing sports and getting outdoors. She’s looking forward to kayaking through North Central Florida’s extensive springs system this year.

She offers a few words of advice to prospective medical students who may feel pressure to complete their schooling as soon as possible.

“I took four years out of school between my undergraduate years and now. I took time to smell the roses, to do research, to gain work experience and to travel,” she says. “Don’t feel like this is the most time-sensitive thing in the world. You don’t need to be a doctor by the time you’re 30.”