Gap-year master’s in biomedical sciences charts alumna’s path for a future in medicine

March 25, 2024

Photo of Sydney Wisdom at undergraduate commencement.

Completing Quinnipiac’s gap-year master’s in biomedical sciences (BMS) program has shown Sydney Wisdom, BMS ’23, that she has the right stuff to pursue a career in medicine, and the desire to impact the quality of care for the underrepresented.

After earning her health science undergraduate degree in 2021, the New Jersey resident worked for a year before applying to the School of Health Sciences to join the one-year, non-thesis option BMS.

“I’ve always wanted to pursue medicine and I chose Quinnipiac because I knew there was a medical school there and people who would be there to help me on my journey,” said Wisdom.

Wisdom said Quinnipiac’s gap-year BMS program’s supportive faculty and challenging learning environment built her confidence in her abilities as a student.

“I wanted to prove that I could actually put the work in. Quinnipiac taught me how to push myself toward academic greatness," said Wisdom. "This master’s program made me relearn how to study and gave me a new way of looking at learning."

Wisdom said the program went well beyond simply bridging her educational needs between undergraduate and graduate coursework to prepare her for medical school. Along the way, she experienced a course with biomedical sciences professor Dwayne Boucaud which affirmed her desire to become a physician who could assist the underrepresented.

“I took a health disparity seminar with Dr. Boucaud and each week we had a new speaker," said Wisdom. "I was shocked about the reality of a lot of people’s situations because of the healthcare they have access to and the stigmas people face because of conditions they have." 

“This class was eye-opening and inspiring," said Wisdom. "It made me want to become a physician even more and change the quality of care for the underrepresented for the better. I do think in the future I want to work with underrepresented populations, or in places which don’t have the same access to healthcare that we have on the east coast.”

The class also inspired Wisdom to volunteer with the American Red Cross.

“I started volunteering with the Red Cross because during our health disparity class, blood donation came up several times,"  said Wisdom. "Until then, I didn’t realize how important it actually is for people that have blood-related diseases." 

Wisdom is also grateful for her experiences working as a graduate assistant for School of Health Sciences Associate Dean of Recruitment and Success Colleen Thompson and Assistant Dean for Career Development Cynthia Christie.

“I created the Happy Friday newsletter that went out to undergraduate students every Friday and the Rounds newsletter for the graduate students, in addition to helping the deans with whatever they needed," said Wisdom. "I had a blast working with them and I got to learn about all of the resources that Quinnipiac offers for premeds, as well." 

Wisdom also thanks Thompson and Christie for helping her decide what type of work to apply for as a post-graduate and with helping to build her resume. Currently, Wisdom is working as a dermatology medical assistant, a position she secured while still in the BMS program.

“I started my job about two weeks after I graduated," said Wisdom. It’s a great stepping stone because my BMS gave me experiences and lab skills which helped me get the job. I trained for about two months and now I currently work full-time. I have seen many surgeries, procedures and so many patients be so grateful and happy that their treatments are working and changing their lives."

As she studies for the MCATs and makes plans to apply to medical school, including Quinnipiac’s Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, Wisdom said she feels her Quinnipiac gap-year BMS has prepared her for the challenges ahead. 

“My proudest moment was when I saw the final grades come out for my final semester and I realized I had received a 4.0 for the semester, for the very first time in my academic career,” said Wisdom. “I have made many wonderful connections with my peers and faculty that I cherish. I am so proud of all that I have gone through to obtain the degree.”

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