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Biological Science Student (now Biomedical Studies) Alex Kragie

Alex Kragie, Biological Science (now Biomedical Studies), Masters Program

Background

Hometown: Chicago, Illinois
Drexel University College of Medicine Class: 2016
Undergraduate: Purdue University
Accepted MD Program: Drexel University College of Medicine ‘17

Q&A

Have you always wanted to be a doctor?

I've always thought I wanted to do something in medicine. When I started undergrad, that's what I had in mind. My mom is a physician, so it just made sense to me. I worked in her office a lot when I was younger, and I knew I liked the environment there and what she did.

What kind of work did you do in your mom's office?

My mom's a podiatrist. She works for a big medical group in Chicago. I mostly worked as a receptionist and filed charts. On occasion I would check patients in to rooms and bring them back if we were down an MA (medical assistant). I also got to shadow her a few times in the OR and that was fun.

Why did you decide to get a master's degree before medical school?

When I took the MCAT as an undergrad, I didn't do as well as I hoped I'd do. I did really well in the science portion but poorly in the verbal reasoning, so I needed help to make me a more competitive applicant.

Why did you decide to get your master's at Drexel?

I found out about Drexel's pre-med pre-health programs from a friend who was applying here. She ended up getting into medical school and didn't end up doing the program, but I did.

What was your experience like with the faculty and other students in your program?

The faculty was super supportive. If I ever had any problems, I knew I could go to them and they would help me no matter what.

My classmates were all really collaborative and worked together. I found some really good friends here. Lifelong friends, in fact.

Did you do any community service work while you were getting your masters?

I worked for Youth Build Philadelphia, which is a second-chance high school for kids who dropped out to come back and get their actual high school diploma. I helped in their science lab and really enjoyed it there. It was incredibly rewarding.

I also worked at the Universal Charter Institute in South Philly where I helped their cheerleading squad. Their coach had never done cheerleading, so they appreciated my tumbling and stunting lessons.

What made you choose Drexel for medical school?

Part of it was me already feeling comfortable here. I applied to several schools, but the MBS program touched on Drexel's medical school coursework, so I had a better idea of what I could expect. The other school I got into was a DO school in Chicago, which is my hometown and I just wasn't ready to go back there yet.

How did the Biological Science (now Biomedical Studies) program prepare you for medical school?

The first year did a lot to help me boost my MCAT score. When I took the MCAT again, I got my overall score to be high enough, but my verbal reasoning was still pretty low. So the program actually boosted my science score even higher, but my verbal was to a point where it was hurting me. I used the CAS (Center for Academic Success) to help with my essays and verbal reasoning. I even got a tutor who I met with and I also used them to help write my personal statement. I met with them regularly to help solidify that. That was a great resource that I couldn't have gone without. Also, through the program I was able to network and meet some of the professors and get a feel for how competitive my application would be. Those extra efforts helped get me the interview here at Drexel.

The coursework, in general, really prepared me for my first year of medical school. I noticed that several of my classmates who didn't do a program like this struggled during that first year. I'd already seen immunology, for example, and done well in it, so I was able to help other students in the labs and in the classes. I felt like the MBS program made me more relaxed for medical school. I was actually able to enjoy the fact that I was going to be a doctor one day. I wasn't too stressed out. I felt like I had a really solid base.

Do you know what kind of medicine you want to go into?

I've never had anything specific in mind, but now that I'm in my third year of medical school, I had to declare a pathway and I declared OB/GYN.

Why OB/GYN?

I loved surgery. That was my first rotation, but I don't think my personality fit that environment. I loved the OR, so that made me want to explore other specialties that have a mix of OR and clinical, which would be stuff like OB/GYN, urology and orthopedics. So those were the three things I kind of looked at. I've also always had an interest in women's health and I've also always wanted to work internationally. Women's health at the international level is a huge issue, so OB/GYN kind of fit in with all the things I wanted in a career. It just took me a little while to see it.

What advice would you give to future pre-med pre-health students?

I really appreciated the courses because I don't think I could have got into medical school without them. Everyone has a different path to medical school. There's a huge advantage, though, to taking these courses and I'd highly recommend them to anyone who needs them.

Also, remember that you get what you put into it. I know some of my classmates struggled with the program because they didn't take it seriously enough. You should treat it like medical school. If you want to be a doctor, you have to work. Being here isn't enough. You have to push yourself. All the people I was friends with who put the work in are now in medical school, dental school or whatever other professional school they wanted to get into.

Biomedical Studies program graduate students in the classroom at Drexel University College of Medicine.