Accepted to the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry during the fall of her junior year, Acacia Bowden ’20 has been waiting to begin med school classes for almost two years. Actually, she’s been waiting to attend medical school ever since she was in elementary school.
“Ever since kindergarten, I was telling people I wanted to be a doctor, teacher, or lawyer,” she said. “I ultimately decided on medicine because I really enjoyed my science classes and how in the field of medicine things are constantly changing and you have to keep learning.”
Bowden decided to apply to the competitive University of Rochester’s Early Assurance Program because she was drawn to the institution’s commitment to holistic learning and because students at Rochester can begin meeting with patients as soon as January of their first year.
“Rochester is kind of considered the liberal arts of medical schools, and that was something that really resonated with me. I want to continue not just my scientific knowledge and understanding of medicine, but also connecting with patients and being able to work on a more personal level, because that’s also important,” she said.
Hometown: Deep River, Conn.
High school: Valley Regional High School
While Bowden knew she wanted to pursue a career in healthcare, she made the decision to become a doctor during her sophomore year at Hamilton. With the assistance of Director of Health Professions Advising Leslie Bell and her primary care doctor, Bowden shifted from her initial plan to become a physician’s assistant.
Moreover, Bowden has already accumulated various work experiences in healthcare. Since her senior year of high school, she has interned at a local shoreline emergency room, volunteered with Double H Ranch, worked in a pediatrics office, and received her nursing assistant certification, among other accomplishments.
At Hamilton, Bowden majored in biology. “People would probably say that’s pretty typical for a premed, but for me, I just loved biology in high school, and I really liked the course offerings that Hamilton had. It just so happened that that’s what I was interested in.”
During her junior year, Bowden studied abroad in Copenhagen where she enrolled in a medical practice and policy core course. As a part of the class, she traveled to various hospitals and health practices, particularly on group visits to Poland and Germany. She said that while visiting other countries, she had the opportunity to witness various procedures, including an endoscopy and two natural births.
Though Bowden will begin her four years at the University of Rochester amidst the pandemic, she will still participate in some of the most interactive facets of the program. With the university’s focus on “problem-based learning,” she will partake in courses that educate on “patient cases, learning how to do a physical exam, [and] interviewing a patient.”
Bowden feels both eager and ready to start medical school. “I’d say that my experience at Hamilton gave me opportunities that I definitely wouldn’t have had otherwise,” she said.