Aly Freeman '20


Your Name: Aly Freeman

Graduation Year: 2020

Major: Biology

Your Story: Four years ago, I unpacked all my belongings in Coed and started my life
on the Hill. I came to Gustavus from Omaha, Nebraska, and arrived on campus not knowing
anyone. However, I was drawn to Gustavus for its incredible sense of community,
the great science program (made even more impressive now with the new Nobel
Hall of Science), and the ability to become involved in multiple, wide-ranging
activities at a smaller school. I entered Gustavus pre-med, but I still had some
lingering questions about whether that was the exact path I wanted to follow.
Today, I can honestly say Gustavus did not disappoint. Thanks to Gustavus, I was
able to see that I did indeed want to pursue science and ultimately medical school.
As a pre-med biology major, I took countless science courses that challenged and
inspired me, and I even developed a love for data analysis that led to the completion
of a statistics minor. I participated in the January Interim Health Professions Career Exploration program during my sophomore year and got the chance to observe and connect with physicians from ten different specialty areas, which confirmed my interest in becoming a physician. 

Outside of academics, I was a three-year captain of the women’s softball
team and absolutely loved my time as a competitive student-athlete. I was also able
to serve in campus leadership positions as a member of the Gustie Greeters,
Gustavus’ first-year Orientation leaders, and SAVE, a student-athlete group
dedicated to mentoring young Gustavus athletes and promoting physical, mental,
and emotional wellbeing.

Overall, I am so grateful for my time at Gustavus, and I believe it prepared me very
well for a future in medicine. I developed the scientific knowledge, passion for
problem solving and helping others, and skills of effective communication, selfless
teamwork, and confident leadership that will help me toward a successful future as
a physician!

Top Five Activities/Experiences: (in no particular order)
1. Gustie Greeters
2. Women’s Softball Team
3. Student Athlete Volunteer Educators (SAVE)
4. Summer Research in Neonatology at University of Nebraska Medical Center
5. J-term Pre-med Clinical Shadowing Experience at the Mankato Clinic

1. Know your strengths. One of the best things I ever did was take a comprehensive
strengths exam to figure out my own best qualities as an individual. By knowing
what personality traits and skills shine for you, it is suddenly easy to promote
yourself in applications and interviews. You can describe how you demonstrate
these characteristics and even illustrate how these skills will translate well into the
medical field. Plus, learning your strengths is a great skill to practice for overall self-
awareness, and it’s a fun, interesting confidence-booster!

2. Take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves. In my case, this
involved participating in the Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) at
the University of Nebraska Medical Center the summer after my junior year.
Through this experience, I learned about medical research, conducted my own
research project (which was submitted and accepted into a national research
conference!), and even gained more clinical shadowing hours. However, the best
part of this experience was staying in touch with the physicians, research scientists,
and graduate students that I worked with, and being able to continue research
beyond just that one summer. For example, in January of my senior year, I worked
remotely for the same research group and assisted with the data analysis and
writing/editing of a large manuscript that now includes my name as a supporting

P.S. Keep in mind that sometimes you need to ASK for these opportunities. They are
out there waiting for you, but it is up to you to have the courage and dedication to
seek them out!

3. Be honest with yourself about your goals for the future. It can be easy to get
caught up in the moment and you might even find yourself dreaming of attending a
top-tier medical school far out on the coast. However, always remember what you
actually want for your future, and realize how to get there. In regards to this, keep
several things in mind when looking at medical schools, such as location, cost,
research opportunities, community involvement, goals of the institution, etc. No
matter what medical school you choose, you can still walk away in four years with
that MD after your name. Therefore, when it comes to making the big decision, pick
a school where you can truly envision yourself happily succeeding!

Future Plans: I will be attending medical school the University of Nebraska Medical
Center in my hometown of Omaha, Nebraska starting in the fall of 2020. I am very excited to
pursue a medical degree at this institution and continue with the research
partnerships/mentorships I have established here. Ultimately, I am keeping an open
mind toward a future specialty. However, I do envision myself working with
children and/or families in the future, potentially within a Pediatric subspecialty.

3/31/2020 HB