July 17, 2017
Tyler Sloan
student putting on lab coat
Kate Frost ’15 suits up for rounds at Vanderbilt University, where she will finish her first year of medical school July 28. Photo credit: Courtesy of Kate Frost

Kate Frost ’15 takes lessons learned on and off the field with her to medical school at Vanderbilt University.

As a double major in biology and neuroscience with a minor in chemistry, Kate Frost ’15 knew early on that she was on a science track. But it wasn’t until her sophomore year, when she sustained multiple sports-related injuries as a dual-sport athlete for the women’s varsity soccer and lacrosse teams, that she knew she wanted to be a doctor. Now, in the final month of her first year at Vanderbilt University Medical School, Frost reflects on how being a student-athlete aided her transition to graduate school.

“A lot of medicine these days is collaborative, working in groups with others of different backgrounds and skill sets, and I think my experiences in both athletics and academics helped me to become an effective team member and leader,” says Frost, who earned North Coast Athletic Conference accolades her senior year as a record-setting goalkeeper for the women's soccer team. “There are actually quite a few student-athletes in my class, and we often talk about how grateful we are for that experience and how it has been extremely helpful in transitioning into medical school.”

Frost ultimately selected Vanderbilt for its curriculum, small class size, and hospital exposure. Already, she has had the opportunity to participate in the university’s free medical clinic as a social worker, as well as with a nurse practitioner student, pharmacy student, and social work student in the Pediatric Complex Care clinic. Though she hasn’t landed on a specialty yet, Frost hopes to eventually work in pediatrics.

“While I was at the Pediatric Cardiology Intensive Care Unit a little boy got the news that he was getting a new heart, which was an incredible thing to witness because the entire unit, the family, the nurses, the doctors, were all so excited for him,” she says. “If I had to choose something right now it would probably be Pediatric Critical Care, but I am really just excited to try everything next year!”

Before deciding to attend medical school, Frost tested the waters with internships and volunteer opportunities in places as close as Cleveland’s MetroHealth Medical Center and as far as Moshi, Tanzania. She cites her formative time volunteering in Moshi the summer after her sophomore year as an experience that solidified her passion for medicine.

“I had exposure to medicine and the life-changing effects that medicine can have on a person,” she says. “I got to teach a 12-year-old boy who had just recently gotten cochlear implants after being deaf for the majority of his life. His teachers told me about how he was really struggling in school beforehand and was very shy, but now he is always the first to volunteer in class and give an answer.”

Frost finishes her first year at Vanderbilt at the end of July as part of a 56-week academic calendar, getting only a quick four-week break before beginning her clerkship in September.

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