Alyssa Welle '19


Name: Alyssa Welle

Graduation Year: 2019

Major: Biology Honors, Minor: religion

Your Story: I am proud to call a small, central Minnesota town, Alexandria, my home. I was drawn to Gustavus’
small, tightly-knit community. Growing up, I bounced between wanting to become a teacher, a
pharmacist, or a physician and started school at Gustavus unsure of what I wanted to do. At the end
of my first semester, I had decided to apply for the First Year Research Experience (FYRE) at
Gustavus. That summer experience developed into three-year, one-on-one research with my advisor.
I traveled to Texas to collect samples, presented at a research conference in Chicago, and was listed
as a co-author in a publication in the fall of 2019.

The year that followed my summer research is what helped me decide to pursue a career in
medicine. I had the opportunity to shadow physicians at Hennepin County Medical Center in
Minneapolis where I witnessed firsthand an entirely new array of specialties that I had not seen
growing up in Alexandria. As a student, the idea of being able to someday provide that kind of
intentional care is what made me eager to complete the pre-med requirements at Gustavus.
I soon felt adamant about going straight from Gustavus to medical school. Since I was going to study
abroad for my junior spring, I decided to spend the summer prior teaching myself physics,
biochemistry, and sociology (all courses I would be taking later at Gustavus) so that I would be
prepared to take the MCAT. In the process, I put so much pressure on myself to do well that I ended
up panicking during the exam and felt defeated with the score I received. While I was studying in
Sweden, I realized that taking a year between Gustavus and medical school could help me make my
application stronger. I took the MCAT again after returning home and improved my score by five

Through my years at Gustavus, I was able to explore and participate in programs that helped me gain
critical perspectives that don’t come in a standard text book. In addition to minoring in religion, I
sang in both Lucia Singers and Choir of Christ Chapel, served communities with Habitat for
Humanity, and was a member of Alpha Sigma Tau sorority.

After graduation, I moved home and worked as a medical scribe for a family medicine physician at
the Alexandria Clinic. Even though I decided to pursue medicine two years prior, I felt the stars align
when I was scribing. First-hand, I realized the importance of primary care in making the world a
healthier place.

Top Five Activities/Experiences: (in no particular order)
1. Studying abroad at Uppsala University in Sweden
2. January Interim Pre-Health Career Exploration program at HCMC
3. Doing research on campus and completing an honors thesis
4. Christmas in Christ Chapel 5. Habitat for Humanity-- going on three spring break service trips, leading one
of them, and serving on the executive board for two years

1. Don’t be hard on yourself. When I first decided to go into medicine, I thought
I had to be perfect at everything if I wanted to be accepted anywhere. This
led to unnecessary stress that I would highly recommend avoiding! Honestly,
I didn’t realize this until after I graduated and had been accepted. The
activities and experiences I was involved in because I enjoyed them became
the strongest parts of my application! And it’s good to have a plan but it’s also
okay to change it! Just remember the end goal of becoming a physician.

2. Relating to my first point, be sure to sign up for the courses and activities
that make your heart happy. These are the things you will write about in
your application and share most passionately in your interviews. Also, I think
it’s easier to do well academically in something you enjoy! Sign up for the
electives you’re actually interested in.

3. Put your whole heart into your coursework. At the end of the day, it is still
important to study hard to have a good GPA and MCAT score. Don’t be afraid
to reach out to professors, classmates, and tutors for additional help. One of
the best parts about Gustavus is the small class sizes and the availability of
the professors, be sure to take advantage of it!

Future Plans:
I will be attending University of Minnesota Duluth beginning in August 2020.
Throughout my time at Gustavus and working as a medical scribe in Alexandria, I
am eager to be at a school that places an emphasis on rural primary care.

Updated 4/5/2020 HB