Saint Louis University Graduate Students Leave SLU Prepared to Take on the World
Saint Louis University School of Medicine students participated in research and patient care. School of Law students worked in legal clinics and courtrooms making a difference for their clients. Masters students in the College for Public Health and Social Justice helped care for vulnerable populations.
Those experiences helped form the physicians, lawyers and social workers graduating from Saint Louis University in 2019. See how a few of those students spent their time as Billikens, and what they plan to do next.
Nabiha Quadri, School of Medicine
About Her SLU Experience: Nabiha Quadri came to SLU from the University of Illinois-Chicago. Her brother was an undergraduate here and so she put SLU on her list when she began to look for medical schools.
"This was, by far, the place that the students seemed most normal. When I was here for my interview, you could feel it in what they said, how they interacted with each other and the overall atmosphere," Quadri said. "I knew I had found the place I would thrive in. Coming to SLU has been one of the best experiences of my life."
Once at SLU, Quadri became involved with medical student government. She said she was struck immediately by how willing SOM administrators were to listen to student voices and make changes where needed.
"As a person of Muslim faith, I pray five times a day. When I first got here I asked other students about finding places to pray and was told there was always an empty classroom available for me," she said. "But when I mentioned it to Fr. Murphy, he immediately recognized the need for an interfaith prayer space and we constructed one on the medical campus."
Robert Murphy, S.J., is the campus minister for the School of Medicine.
"I have had a phenomenal SLU experience and the people here are what have made that experience so memorable," she said.
What's Next? Quadri will stay at SLU to do her neurosurgery residency at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.
Aida Herenda, School of Law
About Her SLU Experience: Aida Herenda spent the summer of 2018 as a legal intern in the Office of Legal Services at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
"I was excited to work as a legal intern with the Office of Legal Services at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital because of my bachelor’s degree in health management (SLU College for Public Health and Social Justice, '16) and because I am currently obtaining a health law concentration at SLU LAW," she said. "I felt incredibly equipped to handle a variety of health law issues after taking various courses at SLU and SLU LAW, and after interning with Legal Services of Eastern Missouri’s Advocates for Family Health Program last summer."
Herenda said the experience confirmed her passion for health law.
What’s Next? Herenda plans to join the firm of Summers Compton.
Nathan Park, School of Medicine
About His SLU Experience: It's not often that one gives up rock and roll for medicine, but that's exactly what Nathan Park did. After traveling the country with his band, he recommitted to medicine and applied to SLU School of Medicine.
Park was a pre-med freshman at UCLA when he and some friends entered a music competition to win a record deal. They spent five years recording music, playing hundreds of shows and trying to keep up with their education.
"I loved it - it was an amazing experience to get to play Dodger Stadium, to go on a college tour and to open for Andy Grammer," Park said. "But we lived in the studio or we were always on the road. The pursuit of a musical career is exhausting."
Park decided that his love of music would always be there, but his opportunities to pursue his love of science and medicine might not.
"I had to take an honest assessment of where I was," Park said. "My extracurricular activity was music. My grades weren't competitive because I spent my time in college trying to balance school and the band."
So Park spent four years preparing himself for med school. He enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program and worked as an EMT and a research analyst.
"I really thought maybe my window had past," Park said.. "I was the definition of a non-traditional candidate, years and years removed from my time as an undergraduate, but I knew this is what I wanted to do."
Park credits SLU with taking his whole experience into account during his interview.
"They didn't just look at my numbers and statistics - they were interested in my story, top to bottom," he said. "I felt immediately like I clicked here. I connected with faculty and I could see myself thriving."
While at SLU, Park found other musicians in his SOM class. The formed the Palpations and performed around St. Louis during their first and second years at SLU.
"Music and medicine allow us to experience our common humanity," Park said. "In both, you have to work together as a team with a goal in mind. Sometimes you have to improvise. In both fields, you need to perform well under pressure. Music helped me cultivate those skills and they will make me a better physician."
What's Next? Park will do his residency in internal medicine at the University of California - Irvine.
Laura Beckering, School of Law
About Her SLU Experience: The School of Law’s Entrepreneurship and Community Development (ECD) Clinic provides transactional representation to entrepreneurs, nonprofits, community groups and small businesses. Students in the clinic have the opportunity to work with clients on their nonprofit status, business planning and incorporation.
As a clinic student, Laura Beckering worked mostly with small nonprofit clients where she reviewed contracts and leases and helped obtain 501c3 tax-exempt status. One of those clients was St. Louis Startup Ambassadors, a small volunteer led organization that aims to connect young companies with the city of St. Louis.
“As I began working with St. Louis Startup Ambassadors and learning more about their goals, I realized their mission is something that is both unique and important for the city of St. Louis,” said Beckering. “The group strives to help make connections between startups that are here in St. Louis through different workshops and social events so that the people involved can form ties and roots in the community. I think this is such a great concept.”
What’s Next? Beckering plans to join Greensfelder in the business services practice group and will continue to volunteer on the board of St. Louis Startup Ambassadors.
Emma Dwyer, School of Medicine
About Her SLU Experience: Emma Dwyer bleeds Billiken blue. As a third-generation SLU student, she participated in Oriflamme as an undergraduate. Her sister is a SLU Law graduate and her brother got his MBA from the Richard A. Chaifetz School of Business. Her grandfather, John Dwyer, Ph.D., chaired the biology department at SLU and her father, Jerry Dwyer, M.D., received the Alumni Merit award from the School of Medicine on May 17.
Dwyer participated in SLU's Adventures In Medicine and Science (AIMS) program as a teenager and fell in love with medicine. Once in medical school she worked with the development office and served as a student liaison on the School of Medicine dean search committee.
"One thing that stuck out to me during the search process was seeing how the candidates loved their work," she said. "It showed me that you need to pursue things you are passionate about. Don’t do for your resume – do it because you love it."
Dwyer's passion for medicine was challenged when her mother passed away suddenly early in her medical school career. She credits SOM faculty, particularly Catherine Wittgen, M.D., professor of vascular surgery, with keeping her on track.
"I needed a strong female mentor and she was there for me. She kept me grounded," she said. "I'm in debt to SLU for keeping me focused and not letting me get lost. I had the resources here to keep going. SLU makes sure you have what you need."
What's Next? Dwyer will do her residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Chicago.
Elizabeth Beckerle, College for Public Health and Social Justice
About Her SLU Experience: Saint Louis University School of Social Work student Elizabeth Beckerle (M.S.W. 2019 candidate) was awarded the 2019 Distinguished Student Award from the Social Work Leaders in Health Care of Metro St. Louis. As graduate assistant for Dr. Marla Berg-Weger, Ph.D., professor of social work, Beckerle worked at the student-run health clinics at the Health Resource Center, including the geriatric assessment, well woman, and heart-healthy clinics.
"Through these experiences and from working with older adults during my undergrad as well, I’ve realized that direct practice is something I hope to do in my social work career, and more particularly with older adults," Beckerle said.
What's Next? Beckerle is interested in working as a geriatric social worker.
Rose Tanner, School of Law
About Her SLU Experience: In December 2018, third-year law student Rose Tanner wrote the brief for and argued an unemployment case on behalf of a Legal Clinic client before the Missouri Court of Appeals.
The court ruled in her favor in January, and her client was determined eligible to have received unemployment benefits.
The decision sets new precedent in Missouri for employees who have to decide whether to accept a significantly lower position than they previously held or leave the company.
Tanner said this experience taught her how much she enjoys taking on pro bono cases.
“Service has always been important to me,” she said. “That’s certainly one reason that I chose to go to SLU for my undergrad and for law school. I was a teacher before [law school]. When I started law school, I was worried that I would not be fulfilling that desire I have for community service. But in this experience I certainly felt like I was serving, and that as a lawyer I can continue to serve."
What's Next? Tanner will join Thompson Coburn after graduation.
Curious about what SLU's undergraduate students will be doing as new alums? Check out even more profiles.
Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers nearly 13,000 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.