For some people, the path to medical school is not straightforward—which is why UVa’s Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical Program
is so important. An outstanding finance major at the University of Maryland, Caitlin Mulligan was on track to accept her dream job at an investment bank when she had her moment of truth. “I realized that I needed to be doing something that would allow me to be actively engaged in other people’s lives,” she says.
Medicine soon rose to the top of her list of alternatives. As a volunteer at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, Mulligan found she loved the pressure of working in teams to help people. But she wanted to be 100 percent sure before making her choice. As a Peace Corps volunteer in Botswana, she helped educate pregnant women who were HIV positive about the steps they could take to prevent their babies from becoming infected. “I realized that there are millions of people in the United States who similarly lack access to health care,” she recalls. “I decided that as a physician, I could make a difference in their lives.”
Mulligan researched post-baccalaureate programs from Botswana and interviewed for UVa using online technology. She began the yearlong intensive program in 2010, joining a cohort of 25 other students. “UVa is one of the top public universities in the United States, so you can expect your classes to be outstanding,” she says. “What’s really made a difference for me is the quality of advising and the individual support everyone gets from the program’s administrators.”
During her glide year, Mulligan trained as a scribe at the UVa Medical Center Emergency Room. Today, she is attending the University of Washington School of Medicine.