In Profile: AFS’s Gonyeau accepted into prestigious military medical school
By: Amanda Bowman
Kerry Gonyeau, an animal science major from Texas Tech's College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, never imagined pursing a medical career until a fateful night her freshman year changed her mind.
"I didn't really want to go into medicine originally," said the Winnsboro native who graduated last month. "My very first semester at Texas Tech, I was in the hospital for a night because I had a really bad ear infection. When I there, I was like, 'Wow, this is kind of cool. Maybe I should do this.' Then, I shadowed a doctor after that and fell in love with the whole aspect of medicine. It changed my entire perspective."
Once Gonyeau had set her mind on pursuing medicine, she knew which direction she wanted to take. "I immediately started thinking that military medicine would probably be the best for me," Gonyeau said. "I've been exposed to the military aspect because of my family. In the summer of 2018, I was able to complete an internship at the United States Army Institute of Surgical Research. I shadowed a lot of Army physicians while I was there, and it really set in stone that this is what I want to do."
With her decision made, Gonyeau applied to medical schools with her top choice being the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences (USUHS), an extremely competitive and difficult university to be accepted into, located in Bethesda, Maryland. "There are 171 students who are in the matriculating class, and more than 3,000 people apply," Gonyeau said.
After Gonyeau applied, she was granted an interview. After the interview she had to wait patiently for a phone call from the Dean of Admissions to see whether she'd been accepted. Eight months after submitting her application, her phone rang.
"I was in my genetics class when I noticed my phone was ringing," Gonyeau said. "The caller ID said Bethesda, Maryland. I answered it in class and started running up the stairs really awkwardly. I started crying a little bit when I heard the dean's voice. He said, 'I have to tell you something. You've been accepted to the Uniformed Services.'
When Gonyeau first came to Texas Tech, she majored in animal science with a pre-medicine concentration. She believes majoring in animal science prepared her for her future medical career. "I honestly feel like, since I studied animal science, I got a lot more hands-on experience than most people," she said. "I did research with cattle and I got to see things most students don't get the opportunity to see."
The F. Edward Hébert School of Medicine at USUHS is located on the same installation as Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda. According to its website, USUHS features an extensive year-round curriculum that focuses on medical science, disease prevention, health promotion and leadership training that is nearly 700 hours longer than those found at other medical schools in the U.S.
"The route I'm taking is the uniformed services, which is so much different than the health professionals scholarship because military medicine is integrated into the curriculum and students are active duty throughout the four years of medical school." Instead of wearing typical scrubs while working rounds, Gonyeau will wear her military uniform. She also has to take a physical fitness test twice a year.
Gonyeau has to commit to seven years of service after her residency. From there, she can choose to stay in the military or go into civilian medicine. "I feel like I'll probably make it my career to be in military medicine," she said, "but we'll see what happens once those seven years are over."
CONTACT: Michael Orth, chairman, Department of Animal and Food Sciences, Texas Tech University at (806) 834-5653 or firstname.lastname@example.org
0626NM19 / PHOTO: Ashley Rodgers
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