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Success Stories

From Lab to Operating Room, Summer Experience Leads to Ideal Career Choice

October 18, 2019

From Lab to Operating Room, Summer Experience Leads to Ideal Career Choice

Willie Taylor '20
Willie Taylor '20

For the second consecutive summer, Willie Taylor ’20, a biology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, participated in the Health Careers Opportunity Program’s Research Fellowship at UConn Health in Farmington, Connecticut. The program not only gave him a research laboratory enrichment experience, it exposed him to clinical medicine—from family medicine to the operating room.

“I was able to apply the different procedures and techniques from my UHart classes directly to the lab, which greatly benefited my experience and efficiency throughout the summer,” says Willie. At the end of the program, Willie presented his research on the effects of UV light on bacteria in its spore form, and the most efficient way to kill it because of its importance in food spoilage and medical tool sterility. 

He says one of the highlights of the program was the opportunity to observe a neurosurgeon perform a spinal fusion. “It gave me a better understanding of the inner workings of the operating room and helped me determine that I may want to be a surgeon one day. I would definitely recommend this summer experience to others who are interested in research, as well as those wanting to get more experience in different departments of medicine.”

I was able to apply the different procedures and techniques from my UHart classes directly to the lab, which greatly benefited my experience and efficiency throughout the summer.

Willie Taylor '20, Biology, Pre-Medical Advising Program

Willie says the program sparked an interest in him to look at social determinants of health and health disparities which led to his decision to apply to UConn Health to pursue a master’s in public health, before he applies to medical school to become a doctor of osteopathy (DO). 

“My aim is to directly use my MPH and DO degrees together so I will have a better understanding of the workings of the health care system, which will help me become a better physician,” he says. “I believe the osteopathic career choice is best suited for me because of the holistic approach it has toward medicine, combined with public health knowledge.”