Gallagher headshot

Mary Cate Gallagher '19

Hometown

Belmar, NJ

Path

An aspiring physician assistant builds the skills and experience she’ll need to ensure that future patients receive the best care.

From working in an HIV clinic in South Africa to interning with a cardiac surgery unit in New Jersey to serving as a tester and counselor with AIDS Project Rhode Island, Mary Cate Gallagher ’19, an aspiring physician assistant, is building the skills and experience she’ll need to ensure that her future patients receive the best care.

“I want to be able to have a tangible impact on my patients' lives and for them to see that, even in a really dark time, someone’s willing to advocate for them and work in their favor,” she says.

Her professors and mentors in Bryant’s pre-health program helped Gallagher prepare for such a goal. “The direct access to professors really makes the program stand out,” she says. “For an 18-year-old, being able to form a relationship with someone who is an expert in their field is a special interaction.”

The program, says Gallagher, goes beyond teaching biology and chemistry; it exposes you to a wider world. “The professors in the Biology and Pre-Health programs don’t just answer your questions. They’ll help you think about what you’re doing and guide you to explore directions you may not have thought of.”

Their guidance helped her discover a new way to advocate for patients, and help them stay healthy. “In my immunology classes with Professor Kirsten Hokeness, Ph.D., we learned about the socioeconomic influences that affect medicine and disease spread,” she says. “Not just the direct treatment of illness, but the larger causes.”

Inspired, Gallagher spent nearly two years researching Rhode Island's policies surrounding Hepatitis C treatment, and how they can be improved. “The project was based in medicine,” she explains, “but it was mostly about how society treats medicine and people who are sick.”

That’s a key to success, she says: Being able to take a step back and think of the roots of a problem instead of just seeing and reacting to the symptoms. “I think the classes here have taught me that – to just take a breath and look at things from a different angle.”

Real World Experience

Internships

Department of Health Certified HIV/HCV Tester and Counselor, AIDS Project Rhode Island
• Performs anonymous and confidential HIV/Hepatitis C testing, counseling, referrals and related services
• Provides specialized harm-reduction counseling and education to serve a diverse, bilingual population

Medical Assistant, Bryant University
• Student medical assistant and electronic medical records administrator

Student Athletics Budget Manager, Bryant University Athletics
• Monitored 20 NCAA budgets for a Division I school. Focused on invoicing, expenditure reports and NCAA budget compliance

Cardiac Surgery Intern, Jersey Shore University Medical Center
• Worked directly with the cardiac surgery team in the OR as well as in the outpatient setting

Bryant Athletics

Field Hockey
• Named to the NFHCA National Academic Squad and to the MAAC All-Academic Team

Research

Predicting the Effects of Medicaid’s Sobriety Requirements on the Spread of Hepatitis C in Rhode Island
• Conducted research into the state of Rhode Island's policies surrounding Hepatitis C treatment

Study Abroad

Cape Town, South Africa
• Worked as a researcher in an HIV Clinic

A Connected Community

Bryant's purposeful student life delivers co-curricular immersion with an inspiring, collegial community. Students forge deep connections that last a lifetime.

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Marlee O'Keefe '19

"Finding the people who are trying to create and spread good in the world is important to me. I want to be part of that."

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Kevin Mentzer '91, Ph.D.

“My job is to prepare you to handle whatever tool is thrown at you, while acknowledging that you will have no experience with that tool.”

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Vimbainashe Masiyiwa '17

Building on skills developed at Bryant and inspired by a "duty to give back to the African continent," she's now pursuing a master's degree at one of Europe's leading business schools.