Word Count: 587
By Megan Malkus
After months of preparation, Alison Sansone, 20, drove herself to the University of South Carolina School of Medicine campus in Greenville, South Carolina for an interview with the admissions staff.
Sansone is currently a junior at Clemson University majoring in biology. She has maintained a 4.0 GPA during her three years at Clemson and plans to work hard to graduate at the same level.
“When I called my mom to tell her I got into med school she told me that I am the smartest person in our family,” Sansone said. “It made us both cry with joy. There were a lot of tears that day.”
Even though she spends a lot of time studying, Sansone is also involved in many clubs and programs on campus. She is a principal undergraduate student studying functional vertebrate biomechanics in turtles and Clemson University’s honor student of the year. She is also a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority where she holds the position of Chief Financial Officer.
“I like to have fun and I like to take cute Instagram pictures,” Sansone said. “I hope that I’ve broken some boundaries and inspired other people to do the same.”
Along with these clubs, Sansone has participated in different speaking events on and off campus. She was a guest speaker at a Woman’s Conference where she spoke about stereotypes placed on women in sororities and she was chosen to give a TED talk focusing on women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
“Theta’s tagline is ‘Leading Women’; so it kind of helped me a lot in being able to know how to present myself as an advocate or a leading woman for somebody else,” Sansone said. “Theta really emphasizes being able to take this social aspect that we live in and make it into this place where you can lead and be the best version of yourself to represent you and your sisters well. I think that has helped me to find my own self confidence and my own ability to be passionate in who I am and what I stand for and that helps you to speak well in interviews and have the confidence to go after applying to med school.”
Being a leader in so many areas of her life, as well as all of her public speaking experiences, prepared Sansone for the tough interview portion of the medical school application process.
“The toughest question I was asked had to be ‘why do you want to be a doctor,'” Sansone said. “Everyone going through this process wants to help people and likes science so it’s hard to differentiate myself. In answering this question, I took the approach of wanting to be an advocate for patients who don’t understand how to help themselves.”
Medical school is a big, life changing step for a young girl to take. Sansone didn’t always know she wanted to be a doctor and it is still unclear to her what type of doctor she wants to be.
“I think it’s honestly been a growing process,” Sansone said. “I decided on the field of biology and maybe the idea of medicine in my freshman year of high school after taking freshman biology but I think my love and passion for medicine didn’t come until my sophomore year of college when I got more experience in that field.”
Sansone will graduate from Clemson University in May of 2018. Her journey to higher education begins the following August at University of South Carolina School of Medicine Greenville.