Headed to various medical fields, friends share townhouse
Aspiring dentist, physician's assistant and veterinarian support one another in their professional goals
Katie Braman, Nicole Quispe, and Eiley Murphy are senior roommates and close friends at Saint Michael’s College. All three women are looking to pursue careers in various medical fields after their graduation in the spring of 2023.
Braman is a health science major with minors in chemistry and psychology from North Adams, MA and she has her sights set on attending dentistry school post-graduation so that she can achieve her “long-term goal to provide free/low-cost dental care for those who do not have dental insurance.” Quispe is a health science major with minors in chemistry, health equity, and music from Methuen, MA. Quispe is looking to enroll in a physician’s assistant (PA) program after graduation eventually to work with surgical patients. Murphy is a biology major with minors in chemistry, statistics, and music from Beloit, WI, and she wants to attend veterinary school in order to become a veterinary oncologist.
Attending a liberal arts college like Saint Michael’s College was important to all three women, not only for the availability of a wide range of courses, but for the individual support and personal growth that comes with being a Purple Knight. The close-knit community was the strongest pull factor for Braman and Murphy, while Quispe found the change in environment from the city atmosphere with which she is familiar to be refreshing.
“The pre-requisites for vet school are extensive,” said Murphy, “and the well-rounded education I have gained from St. Mike’s has fit all of them. Many other students must take classes at other institutions in order to fill those requirements.”
Braman said Saint Michael’s “gave me the opportunity to explore beyond just science programs, which has given me a more knowledgeable background of different perspectives. I have been able to combine this knowledge with the STEM courses I’ve taken, and it has made me a more well-rounded student.”
Quispe said being able to attend a liberal arts college “has allowed me to continue learning about other interests such as music.”
Growth and support from classmates and professors at Saint Michael’s particularly helped Braman find her own individual strengths during COVID. “I had originally come in as a health science major on the pre-dental track, but when COVID took over, I dropped the pre-dental portion because I did not want to do online labs; I felt that I could not learn properly in online courses,” said Braman. “I underestimated my strength, my ability, and my knowledge. My friends and family helped me realize that it was possible to achieve my original goal. I ended up going back to the pre-dental track junior year and even added a chemistry minor!”
Each is involved in various clubs and other activities on campus: Braman is an Honors Program mentor, Orientation Board member, co-leader for the MOVE Cook N’ Food program, and participant in Random Acts of Kindness Club, Feminist Club, and Active Minds. On top of all that, she is currently doing research with biology professor Paul Constantino analyzing different mammalian teeth. Quispe is a manager for the Saint Michael’s College women’s basketball team, co-leader for the MOVE programs COTS-family friends and Evening at Days INN, treasurer for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Society, and is a singer and media representative for the campus a cappella group the Acabellas. Murphy is the vice president of the pre-vet club on campus and spends her other free time socializing, working, and attending class.
All three were aware of their shared love for and interest in medical care before they enrolled at Saint Michael’s. Braman shadowed a dentist in high school and “loved the atmosphere of the office.” Quispe volunteered at her local hospital in high school and was inspired by the clear language barriers present between some patients and their doctors to pursue PA school. “Coming from a Spanish speaking family, I know how frustrated a patient feels when they are unable to communicate with their doctors,” said Quispe. “There is a lack of Spanish speaking physicians which inspired me to go on the PA path, because I want to be able to meet my patients’ needs and allow those who can’t speak English to be more comfortable in a hospital setting.” Murphy always had a special love for animals and knew that she wanted to work with them for her career. “I want to work with small animals, specifically dogs and cats, but other pets as well such as rabbits,” said Murphy.
Living with other STEM majors who also want to pursue medicine, though in different contexts, brings the three friends closer and allows them to lean on one another as they near their final semester of college. “My favorite part of living with my friends who are also pursuing medical futures is how motivated they make me feel to keep going, even when the going gets tough,” said Braman.