Sophia Ficarro '22
Sophia Ficarro ’22 will enroll at SUNY Upstate Medical University after graduation. She talks here about how her experiences at Hamilton prepared her for this path.
Did you come to Hamilton knowing you wanted to major in biology and go on to medical school?

I did, in a roundabout way. I wanted to be a doctor ever since elementary school, so when I applied to Hamilton it was with the intention of being a biochemistry major. When I arrived on campus, I freaked out over whether I really wanted to be a doctor. So, my first semester, I didn’t take any STEM classes. After that first semester, I realized that I was not happy with the change, and instead took Introductory Biology. I ended up loving it and deciding that I did want to continue in biology and try for medical school.

What type of medicine are you interested in pursuing?

Right now, my interests are in cardiology and neurology – though every medical student I have spoken to has said that what you are interested in changes drastically once you start rotations.

My interest in neurology comes from personal experience as I suffer from chronic migraines. Experiencing that type of invisible chronic pain has made me hyper-aware of the different deficiencies in our medical system regarding chronic pain, and I would like the opportunity to help rectify those problems. 

What classes at Hamilton helped prepare you for medical school?

Outside of required pre-med courses, my literature and language courses helped me the most. I think that to succeed in any part of life, you need to be able to communicate. Additionally, it is becoming clear that doctors need to understand both the scientific aspect of humans as well as the social aspect.

Were there any faculty or others who were especially helpful to you?

Leslie Bell [Director of Health Professions Advising] helped me through my countless schedule changes and was always a person to turn to for realistic advice or just to have someone to lend a kind ear.

Professor [Mirielle] Koukjian (Arabic) showed me how language can broaden your worldview. A fantastic professor and mentor, she was always happy to listen and give me thoughtful advice on life outside academia.

My mom has always supported me. I would not be here without her.

Did you have any relevant internships?

The summer after freshman year, I volunteered at SUNY Upstate Medical Hospital. I shadowed different healthcare professionals in the intensive care unit, bone marrow units, and the operating room. That internship exposed me to a variety of medical specialties and careers. It also gave me a healthy dose of respect for nurses – you never know how long 12 hours is until you are following a nurse around the ICU without stopping for an entire shift.

Sophia Ficarro ’22

Major: Biology
Hometown: Nicholson, Pa.
High School: Mountain View Junior/Senior High School
Activities: Co-editor for The Topical

What are you most looking forward to?

am looking forward to living in the moment at medical school. I spent all of high school and my time here at Hamilton working to get to medical school, so I am excited to finally start learning specialized information, shadowing medical workers, and getting to know new classmates.

Is there anything you’d like to add?

I personally believe that a background in music helped me immensely. Playing in different bands, orchestras, and ensembles while taking STEM classes gave me a good life balance and taught me how to work with others while also taking on leadership roles.

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