Kathryn Baker
Morgantown, West Virginia
Undergraduate Degree:
Biology, Everly College of Arts and Sciences at West Virginia University

1. What made you want to get your MD degree at WVU? 

Having grown up in Morgantown, I recognized the potential that we have in this state as physicians. I also knew I wanted to pursue nutrition and preventive medicine during my medical career, and WV provides the ideal place for me to pursue these interests during my medical career. After exploring the resources and programs at WVU SOM, I realized this medical school would provide me with the right tools to pursue these passions. 

2. Since you went to undergraduate school at WVU did it make the adjustment easier to Medical School? 

Yes because I was already familiar with the Health Sciences Center and the WVU campus. I also worked at Ruby Memorial Hospital as a scribe, so the hospital staff began to feel like family to me. It has been comforting to see familiar faces both in the Health Sciences Center and hospital. 

3. So far, what is your favorite part of the MD program? 

Finding my nitch. I knew I wanted to integrate nutrition into my medical career, and I found the right faculty member to help me pursue this interest - Dr. Cannarella Lorenzetti, Associate Dean, Student Services, Eastern Division. I also knew I wanted to become involved with educating children in the community about healthy lifestyle habits, and I have been able to work with Dr.Melissa Olfert at the WVU Human Nutrition and Foods Department to expand on this idea. 

4. What made you want to become a doctor? 

My grandfather was a physician in Congo, which always intrigued me to learn about during my childhood. I didn’t really begin exploring the medical field, though, until I started learning about the brain in my high school Psychology class. My fascination for the brain quickly grew into a fascination for the entire human body. Once I realized our ability to improve the health of our bodies simply by changing what we eat, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life advocating for this. 

5. How do you think your 3rd and 4th clinical years will be unique since you are part of the Eastern Campus? 

Getting to work with Dr. Cannarella Lorenzetti and the Culinary Medicine program.  I hope to help her expand it to the other campuses. We learn about the biochemistry of nutrition in medical school, but Culinary Medicine allows medical students to learn through hands-on cooking classes about applicable nutritional knowledge that they can provide to their patients.

6.  What community service have you done so far?   

I recently traveled with classmates to New Orleans over spring break.  We worked with Habitat for Humanity on building several houses on the outskirts of New Orleans and helped restore a graveyard site. It was rewarding to see the progress we made with each project and participate in manual labor activities. 

7. Did the programs orientation week help you get to know your classmates, faculty/staff before classes officially started? 

It helped familiarize me with classmates and faculty members, but I think I have had the most enjoyable experiences with classmates during our small group classes and anatomy labs. The anatomy labs were nice because we would switch groups every block, and I would get to know a different set of classmates each time. 

8. Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about medical school? 

Know how you learn best. Whether it is visually, auditory, or kinetically, just know what works for you. In order to synthesize all of the information that is thrown at you during medical school, it’s important to know how you can process and memorize it effectively. 

9. What activities help keep you a well-balanced medical student? 

I work out at the gym at least 3 times per week and try to practice Irish Dance as often as possible. These physical activities help me release stress. I also enjoy being able to think creatively and work on projects outside of studying, such as collaborating with faculty members to establish new programs at the school. 

10. So far, which wellness event has been your favorite?  

I enjoyed the talent show. It was fun to see all of the unique talents that my classmates have been hiding.

11. What plans do you have for the summer between first and second year? 

I will be doing a nutrition internship in Washington DC with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. 

12. What are your goals after graduating? 

I want to create prevention clinics in West Virginia. I envision these clinics to have a cooking kitchen and gym attached, so patients can take cooking lessons and exercise classes. Instead of telling patients how to eat well and workout, we can show them how to do through interactive lessons. I know Dr. Cannarella Lorenzetti will be instrumental in helping me explore this goal.

Interviewed spring of 2017 (during the MS1 curriculum)