Fall 2014
Student Spotlight

synapse: University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine

Stacy-Wong

The pulse of medical education

Fourth-year medical student Stacy Wong listens for a heartbeat at the Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas. Photo by Edgar Antonio Núñez.

First graduates give BS-MD program high marks

Story by Anne Pershing

Three medical students who will graduate in 2015 give high marks to the BS-MD program offered by School of Medicine, the University of Nevada, Reno and University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Stacy Wong, Troy Shields and Ashley Gray were among the first to be accepted into the program after it was created seven years ago and will be the first to graduate.

Wong said she learned about the program while in high school.

"During my junior year at Carson High, it was by chance that I heard about an exciting new program the School of Medicine was offering," she said.

"The BS-MD program allows a high school student to apply for medical school and obtain a medical degree after three years of undergraduate education at the University of Nevada, Reno or UNLV and four years of medical school," she said.

"It is an honor to be in the pioneering class of the BS-MD program. It was an opportunity to work with inspiring mentors who have become lifelong friends. They offered so much support during my journey to become a physician."

Presently, Wong is checking out radiology and plastic surgery residencies.

"I consider Carson City my hometown, but I am open to going anywhere the opportunity presents itself."

Troy Shields is seeking a residency in orthopaedic surgery, which has been his goal since he was a teenager. He shadowed an orthopaedic surgeon at Douglas High School because he knew he wanted to be a physician.

"While at the University of Nevada, Reno, I went to a recruitment event sponsored by the medical school where I learned about the BS-MD program," he said. He was accepted and entered the School of Medicine in 2011.

Shields said he credits medical school staff with being supportive of students.

"They wanted us to succeed. I also credit two mentors for helping as well. They kept me focused. I'm grateful for the support I received from my family, fellow students and the program. I wanted to stay in Nevada and they made it happen."

As for a residency program he said he'll go wherever he is needed.

Ashley Gray also has good things to say about the program.

"I am the first in my family to pursue a career in medicine and the BS-MD program helped make that happen. I grew up in Henderson, Nevada and graduated from Green Valley High School, where I learned about the program. I earned my bachelor's at the University of Nevada, Reno, in biochemistry and molecular biology."

"As a fourth-year medical student, my aspirations are to work in emergency medicine internationally. I'm fortunate because I get my first exposure to international medicine this February during a rotation in Kenya."

Gray made a special point of giving the BS-MD program credit for helping her reach her goals.

While the students were singing the praises of the program, Ann Diggins, director of recruitment and student services, had high praise for them.

"These students challenged themselves prior to medical school by taking rigorous course loads in college and continued to challenge themselves through medical school. The program began with a partnership between the University of Nevada, Reno and UNLV to keep our best and brightest high school students in Nevada. These three students have become excellent future physicians When they graduate, they will join other outstanding alumni."