Last summer, Dr. Violeta Capric ’12 started the first year of her residency at SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.
Practicing medicine among the rich diversity of peoples and cultures at a large, urban hospital is a challenge she sought out, influenced and prepared by her experiences in the Wagner Plan curriculum.
Her First-Year Learning Community combined studies of English and political science. The students learned to advocate for political and social issues and served in local soup kitchens.
“It was a great experience, an eye-opening experience,” she recalls. “The best part about it is you get to do something that you never thought would be your strength, or that you wouldn’t have chosen for yourself.”
Capric embraced as many diverse experiences as she could fit into her schedule. She was a biology major and a chemistry minor, and she also took extensive coursework in anthropology, math, and art. “The more I took those other courses, the more I fell in love with them. I couldn’t stop.”
After her sophomore year, she did a summer internship in medical research at Johns Hopkins, thanks to the Spiro-Hopkins Scholarship program; the summer after her junior year, she did research in medical archaeology in Peru with Professor Celeste Gagnon.
Many of her First-Year Learning Community friends were interested in politics, and they influenced her to become involved with student government. Ultimately, she served as the Student Government Association president during her senior year — while also doing her senior internship in public health outreach at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Her internship helped her get her first post-college job in genetic and genomic research at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. After a couple of years in laboratory research, she realized that she wanted to work with patients, and she applied to medical school. In May 2018, she completed her M.D. at the Ross University School of Medicine.
“I think very highly of a liberal arts education,” she concludes. “It helps shape you. … In the Learning Communities, you learn to branch out, whether you’re comfortable with it or not. You do it with friends. And in your Senior Learning Community, you do an internship. And for me and many of my friends, that internship turns into your first job. It might have been difficult to get without having the opportunity to put your foot in the door. So, it really does open a lot of doors to you as a student. You may not know what you want to do just yet, as an incoming freshman, but Wagner helps you find it.”