Meet Kara

Kara Ruicci - BMSc '15


Current Program: MD/PhD Candidate, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University

Degrees Held: Honors BMSc – Honors Specialization in Physiology

Future Goals:  I am excited to continue my studies at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry as an MD/PhD candidate for the next 7 years, and look forward to ultimately pursuing a career bridging clinical and academic medicine. I work with Translational Head & Neck Cancer Research Group at Victoria Hospital, where our research team is focused on genomically-guided targeted therapies for the treatment of head/neck and thyroid cancers. I very much see my clinical medicine interests paralleling my research interests, and perhaps will look towards working within the specialty of Otolaryngology –Head & Neck Surgery in the future.

Why I chose the BMSc Program: I chose the BMSc program for two main reasons: (1) It was a basic-science based program but focused largely on human health and disease, and (2) Students had the opportunity to begin in a general cohort and develop their specific interests over time, to ultimately choose an area of specialization for an eventual thesis project.

How did my BMSc degree prepare me for my future goals? Through my studies in the BMSc program, I learned how to become an active learner and self-advocate, both of which I feel will be invaluable in my future endeavors. I witnessed the value in collaboration and teamwork and appreciated the camaraderie that I experienced during my studies. I also learned to appreciate and utilize the numerous resources available to students.

What inspired me to pursue an advanced degree or this career: Throughout my life, I have believed that by pursing what interested me and embracing challenges and diverse experiences, I would find a fulfilling career path. During my undergraduate studies here at Western University, I had the unique opportunity to be involved with numerous research endeavours and interact with fantastic and passionate mentors. These experiences provided me insight into the world of academic research, and along with my longstanding interest in clinical medicine, ultimately led me to the MD/PhD program at Western University.

Favourite Western memory: Working in a research lab as an undergraduate student was definitely one of the best experiences for me at Western. It was a great way to gain insight into the world of research, while having the chance to take on an independent project. Further, I enjoyed immensely the opportunity to interact with graduate students at all levels of training as well as get to know faculty better.

Best thing about being a student at Western: The enthusiasm and energy of the students!

Advice to students considering Western: Take advantage of every opportunity available to you; whether attending office hours, joining clubs or intramurals, volunteering or playing for a sports team, find something you enjoy and go for it!