Shadowing opportunities lead to pursuit of a career in medicine
Shadowing his parents, who were physical therapists in his hometown of Cheraw, South Carolina, Francis Sto. Domingo had somewhat of an idea of what it would be like to work in the medical field. As an undergraduate at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where he earned his bachelor’s degree in biology, opportunities to shadow and volunteer in area hospitals led him to a decision to pursue medicine as his life’s career.
“Volunteering in the emergency department at a hospital in Winston-Salem was the experience that made me decide that I wanted to know what it was like to be a physician,” Sto. Domingo says.
He continued to shadow physicians in an array of specialties, including infectious diseases, anesthesiology, neurosurgery and oncology.
“I knew that becoming a physician was the life to which I felt most called,” he adds.
Before he would apply to medical school, Sto. Domingo chose to develop study skills to help prepare him for the academic rigor required of medical students. He was accepted to the Graduate Certificate program at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine Columbia, and then continued his education to earn a Master of Biomedical Science degree, graduating in December 2020.
The opportunity to serve the community where he grew up is one reason Sto. Domingo chose to attend the School of Medicine.
“What I found here is that the faculty and community are committed to helping students succeed and accomplish their goals,” he says. “The faculty challenge you to rise out of your intellectual comfort zone, and the students look out for one another and encourage each other to be better people and better professionals.”
As he prepares to apply for medical school, Sto. Domingo will spend the coming months working in a research project with area physicians.
“I also hope to stay connected by working with my parents at their outpatient physical therapy clinic and volunteering at the local free medical clinic,” he says.
“My graduate and undergraduate experiences have helped me understand better what being a physician entails,” Sto. Domingo says. “To be a leader and life-long learner, as well as an advocate for my patients - this is my ultimate goal.”