Medical student's success fueled by scholarship and solidarity

April 22, 2024

Chelsea Hiciano smiles in front of a white background

Pursuing higher education can feel like a challenge for many aspiring medical professionals. Students who are dedicated to serving others face everything from years of education to student loans, something Chelsea Hiciano MD ’26 knows all too well. Initially overwhelmed, she soon realized how much she appreciated the camaraderie of her Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine classmates and financial support of the university. It’s often the small details that can make a space feel that much more like home, whether it’s new furniture or friendship.

Earning her undergraduate degree in 2020, she faced a world in turmoil. It took a few years before she applied to the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine at Quinnipiac, deciding it was the best place to continue her education. It didn’t take long for the school to prove that it was.

“Despite facing numerous challenges this past year — planning a wedding, maintaining a long-distance military relationship and overcoming family hardships — I continued to pass my courses thanks to the unwavering support from friends, faculty and peers,” Hiciano said.

And this support comes in many forms. Hiciano frequently utilizes the Netter open-door policy, stopping by professor’s office hours to discuss her academic journey or her career plans.

Her friends have played a part in her in supporting her too, providing her with the comfort of home when she needed it most.

“After moving into my new apartment, the space was pretty bare for months because of the demands of school. But during my birthday weekend, while I was visiting family in New York, my peers took the opportunity to surprise me by transforming my empty home into a cozy haven, filling each room with furniture and decorations thrifted from across Connecticut,” Hiciano said.

The most support she has received has come in the form of her scholarship. Created in memoriam of former professor Dr. Harold Kaplan, this scholarship has enabled Hiciano’s dreams to pursue her medical school dreams.

“This scholarship has provided my husband and I the necessary assistance to allow me to focus on my career, without the stress of more loans. The genuine support provided from this school and in Dr. Kaplan’s name continues to motivate me to pursue my career aspirations without fear and to provide medical support to those I encounter in the local community,” Hiciano said.

A member of the Bobcat Health Alliance, she regularly goes out into the Greater New Haven area to provide medical support to underserved communities. They provide outreach through health screenings and access to sick visits, as well as working alongside a soup kitchen to ensure their patients have access to proper nutrition.

Eager to pursue research in health inequity, population health and child abuse, the Bobcat Health Alliance is the perfect way for Hiciano to make an impactful difference.

With the assistance of her scholarship, she is excited to embark on her third-year rotations. With an interest in pediatrics and emergency medicine, she hopes this first-hand experience will offer valuable insight into her future career.

“I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the students and faculty at the Frank H. Netter School of Medicine, as well as to Dr. Harold Kaplan, with a special thank you to my husband, Sebastien Kent, whose love and support have been a constant source of strength and motivation,” Hiciano said.

“Everyone’s unwavering support has made a profound impact on my academic journey, and I am committed to paying it forward in my future endeavors.”

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