“It’s all about taking advantage of everything that FSU has to offer.”
A single conversation with a trusted Florida State University adviser changed everything for Morgan Bradley, now a senior majoring in Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences.
That meeting prompted Bradley to enroll in the IMS program, the first-of-its-kind in the nation, with the goal of becoming a doctor. She immediately felt good about the choice because it gave her an exciting new focus and direction for her future.
“It was honestly the best decision I could’ve made because I’d felt lost before that,” Bradley said. “IMS gives you so much support because they want you to succeed and become a doctor, if that’s what you want. The program gave me new goals and inspired me to get more active on campus.”
That inspired attitude led Bradley to take advantage of a series of valuable opportunities for an aspiring doctor. She joined a medical mission to Cusco, Peru, where she helped set up mobile medical and dental clinics for residents in rural areas.
The international trip, organized through the volunteer chapter MEDLIFE at FSU, became one of the most powerful experiences of her college career.
“Some parents started crying when we gave their children toothbrushes because that was something they were not able to provide for their kids,” Bradley said.
“They were so appreciative because access to health care is not readily available,” Bradley said. “Something as simple as a toothbrush can improve their overall health, so we brought toothbrushes, women’s hygiene products and first-aid kits.”
MEDLIFE is a national organization that helps people get access to health care, education and safe housing. The experience taught Bradley a lot about providing needed medical care, and she discovered she loved having that kind of positive impact.
FSU’s Interdisciplinary Medical Sciences major offers students a flexible track as they seek to land a job in health care. Bradley said she liked being able to choose from a range of classes that helped her narrow down her main interests in the medical field. Through that process, Bradley discovered she wanted to become a family physician.
That goal led Bradley to get involved with FSU’s Medical Response Unit. Staffed by trained student volunteers, the Medical Response Unit offers support to the FSU Police Department and other emergency medical and safety units at campus events, such as varsity and intramural athletics events.
The experience taught Bradley valuable medical skills and led her to earn certification as a medical assistant.
Those skills proved to be very helpful at an intercollegiate Quidditch Tournament hosted by FSU. Bradley quickly learned that quidditch, as a full-contact sport, can result in injuries.
She said members of the medical response unit sprinted up and down the field tending to injuries throughout the tournament. Bradley treated sprains, bloody noses, heat exhaustion and even a possible torn ACL. She met the challenge that day and also learned something about herself.
“It was really intense, but it definitely taught me I can handle those situations,” Bradley said. “It showed me that I am where I need to be right now for a career in medicine.”
Through these experiences, Bradley gained the medical skills needed to work as a research assistant to Dr. Charles G. Maitland, a neurologist at Tallahassee Memorial HealthCare. In that role, she helped Parkinson’s patients with their gait and stability and even helped medical students teach participants the Argentine Tango to reach those goals.
In another research project, Bradley used vibrating arm bands to remind those patients to swing their arms as they walked to improve stability.
Bradley also worked with teenagers as part of the College of Medicine’s SSTRIDE program, which identifies and supports middle and high school students interested in STEM fields.
That opportunity provided another interesting personal revelation.
“I mentor eighth- and ninth-graders in STEM classes at their schools and give them advice on how to pursue a college education, stimulate their interest in STEM fields and get more involved in their education,” Bradley said. “It’s been an amazing experience because it showed me I have a passion for teaching.”
Bradley said one of the key lessons of her FSU experience has been to keep an open mind about opportunities because you never know how even a single conversation might change your life.
“I am so grateful I chose to attend Florida State because it has opened so many doors for me that I could not have imagined,” Bradley said. “If you told me as a freshman that I’d be where I am now, I would not have believed it.
“It’s all about taking advantage of everything that FSU has to offer, putting yourself out there, not being afraid to start conversations and applying for opportunities. You never know when something will hit.”