Cathleen Huang had long dreamed of following her father’s footsteps into the field of medicine.
“I have always wanted to be a doctor,” Huang says. “My father is a surgeon, so growing up, he always told me stories about his experiences. He became my role model.”
Huang, who earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from the Kennedy College of Sciences in 2016, is now a first-year medical student at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine. She credits her experience at UMass Lowell with helping her get in.
“I can say confidently that the biology department faculty helped me the most in preparing for medical school,” she says.
Huang transferred to UML from Boston University, where she had been pursuing a degree in physical therapy. She realized it wasn’t the career path she truly wanted. At UML, she dove into the undergraduate biology program.
“I told myself that I had to excel in this program to prove I have the potential for medical school,” she says.
Assoc. Teaching Prof. Carol Myers encouraged Huang to take a gap year after she earned her bachelor’s degree. During this time off from college, she worked as a research intern at Massachusetts General Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“I always knew I wanted to be a doctor, but my professors gave me the confidence in research skills and knowledge to turn my potential into a career in medicine,” she says. “I always sought advice from faculty in my academics, extracurricular activities and internships. It was at UML that everything came together.”
Huang’s commitment to medicine inspired her brother, Kevin Huang, who graduated from UML with a bachelor’s in biology in 2017 and a Master of Public Health in 2019. He is also pursuing a career as a doctor of osteopathic medicine, and will start medical school in 2019.
Huang says the road to medical school was not always easy, but each turn prepared her for what comes next.
“It had been a long path to get into medical school, but once I read my first acceptance letter, I knew that everything I did was worth the tears and frustration,” she says.