The Path to Medical School

Published on 18 November 2020

Growing up in Syria and Jordan, junior Tasnim Keddo always knew that she wanted to help others.

Keddo was unsure of where her journey would lead when she migrated to the United States, but her interest in medicine led her to University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis.

In 2016, Keddo applied to the BESt Pharmacy Summer Institute, a partnership between Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Express Scripts and the University that prepares multicultural high school students for future careers in health care.

“Everyone in the program was supportive and willing to answer my questions about pharmacy, health care and applying to college,” she said.

Keddo shadowed medical professionals, toured clinical sites and pharmacies, and learned more about what life is like as a college student. After completing the program, Keddo knew she wanted to continue her studies at the University after high school.

“When I applied to the University, I was not sure if I wanted to pursue pharmacy or medicine,” she added. “I knew the University would provide me with the education necessary to pursue a career in health care no matter which path I chose.”

After her first semester at the University, Ehren Bucholtz, Ph.D., assistant dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, advised Keddo about the differences between pharmacy and medicine, and encouraged her to explore the different opportunities within each field.

The more she participated in volunteer and job shadow opportunities, the more she was drawn toward pursuing admittance into medical school.

“I enjoy interacting with patients, learning about their symptoms and the diagnosis process,” Keddo said. “Diagnosing patients is like solving a puzzle. You don’t always have all the pieces in the beginning, but when you start putting things together you’re able to reveal a solution.”

Keddo’s supportive network at the University, including Alechia Abioye, Ed.D., director of diversity and inclusion, has played an integral role in helping her pursue her dream of attending medical school.

“During my sophomore year, it took me four hours by bus to get to and from campus,” Keddo said. “Dr. Abioye overheard me talking about my transportation challenges and offered to give me a ride every day. Without her willingness to help, I would not have been able to continue school.”

As a member of the cross country team, Keddo also is grateful for the support she has received from her teammates and coaches.

“I enjoy cross country because it’s fun to work together as a team to accomplish a goal,” she said. “It’s a nice way to relieve stress after class.”

With encouragement from her support network, Keddo plans to apply to medical school after earning her bachelor’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences from the University in 2021.


The University offers undergraduate, graduate and professional degrees that prepare students for a variety of health professions careers and provide the perfect foundation for professional or graduate studies.

Learn more about the University’s health-care focused undergraduate degrees.

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