Samantha Williams

October 4, 2023

MSBS Class 2024
Utah Campus

Where is your hometown?

Undergraduate studies:
Bachelors of Science in Emergency Health Sciences

What clubs and activities are you currently involved with?
Various Volunteer Activities

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am from Bandera, a small town in the Hill Country of South Texas. We are known as the “Cowboy Capital of the World.” My parents still currently reside there; my younger and older brothers have moved on to other places. I joined the Future Farmers of America and 4-H in school and participated in a lot of different activities, from horse and livestock judging competitions, livestock shows (sheep, goats, rabbits), as well as numerous volunteer activities. I wanted to become a veterinarian and began college with that goal, but wasn’t prepared to do the hard work to succeed there. I enlisted in the Army and almost completed Basic twice, but was separated due to a foot injury. At that point, I was unsure about what to do next, but had heard about a free Emergency Medical Technician-Basic class and decided to take a chance on it. I am so grateful I did! I have been able to give back to the community that helped raise me and which I dearly love. My 12 years as a Paramedic is what pushed me to want to become a doctor and what ultimately led me to RVU.

What initially brought you to RVU? Why did you decide to pursue this degree?
I was on a road that seemed to just keep going around in a large circle—what I like to refer of as the toilet bowl flush. I had applied to several medical schools and had just received the dismal results of my fourth MCAT. Plus, getting the “We’re sorry to inform you…”, “Try again next year…” rejection letters were the kicks that kept on coming. I knew I wanted to become a doctor, but if I couldn’t even get past the MCAT, what more could I do? I was visiting with my medical director while on a 48-hour shift at our EMS station when she asked me about applying to Master’s degree programs. I was completely unaware of these and began to research options. I found several programs that interested me and applied to all of them. Happily, I was accepted into each one! Then it became time to narrow down the choices. When I initially contacted RVU-UT, I was put in touch with Dawnett Hann. She was amazing and went out of her way to encourage me, as well as to be helpful to me. I did a campus visit and that convinced me RVU was the right place for me. Additionally, the pipeline opportunity associated with the College of Medicine made the idea of medical school more achievable.

What do you enjoy doing when not at RVU (family life, interests and hobbies)?
Coming here from Texas without family in the area has been an interesting journey for sure! I have come to enjoy walking, seeing the amazing landscapes, finding a church community, and participating in various workout activities, including sound therapy and yin yoga.

What is an interesting or little known fact about you:
I am a MIXXED Fit certified dance instructor. I have also participated in the Bataan Memorial Death March at White Sands Missile Range in NM several times (truly a very humbling experience).

What is the best piece of advice you have been given by a professor or student while at RVU?
There are actually a few things I want to share:
1. Structure = Function.
2. Remember you still have to eat all your pancakes. Do you want to eat them all at once or a couple at a time?
3. Find balance and enjoy the journey. This is a marathon not a sprint.
4. Come to Utah!

What are your medical interests?
After working over 12 years as a paramedic in my rural community, I know I want to be a doctor providing care to underserved areas/populations in rural environments. I see myself working in both emergency and family medicine.

What is a favorite memory you have from being in RVU?
I have a couple of favorite memories. First, waking up in this incredible, awe-inspiring environment—the majesty of nature. It is so very different from my home in TX! Also, the bonds that have started forming within our cohort, and some of the best laughs.

What advice do you have for prospective students?
If you’re one of the ones like me who has been told “NO” so many times that you almost give up on your dream, realize it is possible! You just have to take a step and burn your boat—the only way to move is forward. This program is challenging, and at times can be incredibly stressful. However, it will be very rewarding as long as you put in the time to be successful. Know that this program is designed to help you succeed. The faculty and staff have truly been amazing and will try to move mountains to ensure you do well. At RVU, you are more than a number on a piece of paper or a dollar sign in the bank. I am so grateful to be here. I can’t even fathom where I would be if this program hadn’t come into my life.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Understand that if this was easy, everyone would do it. There are times that you will end up emotionally exhausted and wonder if this is truly what you should be doing. It is critical to know and understand your “Why?” of it all. This is such a long process and it is physically and mentally exhausting. While each person’s reason for coming may be different, I believe fundamentally we have the same goal — to leave the world better than we found it. What better way to do this than by helping your fellow man?