Anna McGeeney ’23

Gustavus Adolphus College: Where Success Stories Begin

University of Minnesota

Major: Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Tell us more about your accomplishment.

I am an MS1 at the University of Minnesota Medical School, Twin Cities campus.

Why did you choose Gustavus Adolphus College?

I was searching for a smaller liberal arts college, and since I grew up in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), I had heard a lot about Gustavus. When I began applying to colleges, I visited Gustavus and instantly felt at home. I appreciated the sense of community where everyone was welcoming and supportive. It felt like a place where I could belong and succeed.

How have the Faculty and Staff helped you become career-ready?

Heather Banks and the entire career development team were instrumental in helping me throughout the application process. Heather, in particular, provided valuable guidance in refining my personal statement. She read through multiple drafts and helped me to communicate my passion for medicine effectively. Moreover, my advisors and professors were always there to offer their support, whether through writing recommendation letters or providing valuable career advice.

What was your most meaningful experience at Gustavus?

I was a member of the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra and a section leader for a year. This experience allowed me to develop valuable communication and organization skills while also nurturing my passion for music.

Which college courses prepared you for your career?

The core chemistry and biology courses I took during my undergraduate studies have proven extremely helpful, as the first few months of medical school felt like a whirlwind of information. The class on Proteins, in particular, prepared me for my graduate school experience. This class required me to apply scientific principles and think critically, which has been a valuable skill in my academic journey.

Tell us about where your journey with your accomplishment began.

As a young teenager, I began my journey to medical school due to my personal experience of growing up with a parent who had a terminal illness. During my middle and high school years, I went through countless appointments and hospital stays, exposing me to various aspects of the healthcare system. When my parent passed away during my senior year of high school, I was inspired to pursue a career as a physician. I believe my life experience could help provide comfort and support to other families. My goal is to develop a holistic approach to treating patients that considers their spiritual, physical, and mental health and support systems.

What steps did you take to achieve your accomplishment?

During my sophomore year, I participated in a January career exploration program where I spent over 200 hours shadowing at the Mayo Clinic. In my junior year, I took the MCAT, and the following summer, I started applying to schools.

Which individual, student organization, or mentor has influenced you most?

It is difficult for me to name just one person who influenced me most during my time at Gustavus, as I had several influential experiences. However, I believe that my participation in the Gustavus Symphony Orchestra was the most impactful. Through playing an instrument that I love, I learned valuable teamwork skills and made some of my closest friends at Gustavus. I particularly enjoyed performing at the annual Christmas in Christ Chapel.

What advice would you give to other students or prospective students?

Make the most of your time at Gustavus by taking advantage of all available opportunities. As someone who now attends a larger institution, I realize how much I took for granted at Gustavus, such as recognizing the people I passed daily and forming close relationships with faculty. I encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and join a club, music ensemble, or sports team you may not have considered before. As cliche as it sounds, college is the perfect time to explore and discover new passions.

Why do you think a prospective student should consider Gustavus? 

Gustavus is an excellent choice for students passionate about multiple areas of study and hobbies. Unlike other schools, Gustavus allows students to participate in different activities without choosing one over the other. For instance, I could easily join in music and science as a student.

The campus is filled with Gusties interested in diverse fields, including athletics, music, theater, science, and politics. Many students are involved in multiple areas, contributing to a unique campus culture.

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By Hector Aguilar
Hector Aguilar Assistant Director for Outcomes and Strategic Initiatives