“It takes a village to raise a child, and I owe many of the residents of Port St. Joe for the strong foundation I received as a child. I can't wait to return to help the people that I love.”
Rachel Bixler has made the most of her experience at Florida State University with demonstrating excellence both in and out of the classroom. After finishing her Bachelor’s of Science degree in biological sciences in only three years, she is now a member of the Class of 2011 at FSU’s College of Medicine, where she has been awarded the Leon and Billye Tully Scholarship, for the past two years. She graduated undergraduate Magna Cum Laude, was a member of the Honor’s Program, and was one of ten students selected into FSU Senior Hall of Fame.
Rachel has been involved since the first day stepping on campus. “FSU had a great sense of welcomeness.” Despite its large size and large student population, Rachel says she felt like she wouldn’t get lost, and could also take part in many research opportunities available to undergraduates. Rachel also chose to attend FSU’s College of Medicine for many of the same reasons, and the “faculty genuinely cared about the students’ progress and well-being”.
As an undergraduate student, Rachel taught a class of pre-medical focused freshmen through a Freshmen Interest Group (FIG) and served as their mentor during their first semester at college. “We discussed issues like how liberal studies apply to the medical field and how to prepare for medical school now. I have done everything from helping with chemistry homework to listening to them vent. One of my goals is to teach doctors how to be doctors.” Rachel continued her work in the classroom as a teaching assistant to other medical students within the College of Medicine.
She has been honored with invitations to several different honor and leadership societies, including Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key International Honor Society, Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Eta Sigma, Garnet and Gold Key Leadership Honorary and Omicron Delta Kappa. She has been focusing her research in the area of neuroscience with Dr. Charles Ouimet at FSU’s College of Medicine for possible targets for Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s Disease, as well as a summer internship at Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
Rachel also represented FSU locally after being crowned Miss Florida State University. She was able to serve as a role model to younger girls and spread awareness to the community about Alzheimer’s disease. “I called my platform: ‘AID for Alzheimer’s disease.’ It is based on the acronym AID: Awareness of the disease, Increase the education of caregivers, and Develop a cure. By being Miss FSU, I have been able to be a voice for Alzheimer’s disease.”
Along with the work she did as Miss Florida State University, she also mentored children with America Reads, taught American Sign Language to preschoolers, and founded and served as first president for FSU’s first Christian Sorority Delta Alpha Chi. “As an alumna, I am looking forward to watching new faces and lifelong friendship form in Delta Alpha Chi. Delta Alpha Chi was a long awaited organization, and it’s here to stay at Florida State University.”
After graduation from medical school, Rachel will be attending her residency in neurology. Ultimately, she hopes to return to her hometown of Port St. Joe where there currently isn’t a hospital. Since the medical resources are minimal, she hopes to alleviate some of the medical needs in the area. “It takes a village to raise a child, and I owe many of the residents of Port St. Joe for the strong foundation I received as a child. I can’t wait to return to help the people that I love.”