KSU alum gains experience before med school

KENNESAW, Ga. | Jun 5, 2020

Phillip Williams
Phillip Williams

Some seek out relaxation during the summer. Kennesaw State University alumnus Phillip Williams seeks out the opposite.

A certified emergency medical technician who works in the emergency room at a local hospital, Williams is working with a neurosurgeon on a study that they hope to publish by the end of the year. In June, Williams also plans to take the Medical College Admission Test, which was delayed due to the coronavirus. He hopes to be admitted to medical school next fall, with his top choice being Medical College of Georgia in Augusta.

During his downtime, Williams is training for an Ironman triathlon (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run) in the fall. He says the training is his way of decompressing.

Driven from a young age, Williams said he knew that he wanted to do something with medicine, and conducted his life accordingly, shadowing doctors at a hospital and loading up on science classes in high school. He earned a spot in the Honors program at Kennesaw State and elected to take a gap year between his sophomore and junior years to earn his Advanced EMT certification because he had a desire to work in emergency medicine.

“It’s the classic case of growing up as a young kid with the desire to become a doctor,” said Williams, who graduated with a bachelor’s in biology with a pre-medicine focus. “That goal gave me the drive to accomplish everything that I have so far.”

During his gap year to study for his EMT certification, he met and began working with the neurosurgeon. He was intrigued by the doctor’s research on how to reverse the debilitating effects on a patient who experienced cerebrovascular attacks (CVA) and the subsequent emergency procedure to remove blood clots from the brain. Ultimately, his involvement in the research became the subject of Williams’ Honors capstone project—and that project has continued.

As for the pressure and rigor of med school, Williams said that he knows it will be a lot of hard work but feels that everything that he has done up to this point has prepared him for the challenge.

“Before I graduated, I had my ER work, my research, and my Honors capstone, so I’ve had to get a lot better at time management,” he said.

He acknowledged there’s no guarantee he’ll get into medical school this cycle. And while he would be disappointed, he said that as long as you have a goal, the wait can sometimes yield unexpected results.

“Sometimes it feels like a year is a long time to delay graduation or medical school, but time flies, and in the end it’s worth the experiences you gain along the way.”

– Dave Shelles

Submitted photos

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.