Student Spotlight: Kristi Bears

Published: October 24th, 2017

Category: Front Page Slider, Student Spotlight

Hello everyone! My name is Kristi Bears, and I am currently a junior in the Bachelor of Health Science Program on the Pre-Medical track. Starting in the fall semester of my freshman year, I began volunteering at Shands in the emergency room. After a few semesters in the emergency room, I switched to an anesthesia workroom volunteer in the north tower operating room. During my time as a volunteer at Shands, I was able to observe a number of traumas in the emergency room and a variety of different surgeries while in the operating room. I also had the privilege of shadowing an anesthesiologist, here at Shands, and a cardiologist back home in Clearwater, Florida. Due to my experiences volunteering and shadowing, I am currently most interested in cardiac anesthesiology.

Following the completion of volunteering for five semesters at Shands, I more recently became a research lab volunteer at the University of Florida Center for Pharmacogenomics. I was able to see first-hand how patients responded differently to the same drug while shadowing with the anesthesiologist at Shands, and as a result, I became especially interested in pharmacogenomics, which is the study of how drugs effect each patient differently based on their genome.  In the lab, I amplify and genotype genes that are believed to play a role in drug response in order to better tailor medication to each individual patient and reduce adverse drug response. The ability to reduce adverse drug response in patients would decrease the number of patient office visits to adjust medication, alleviating some healthcare expenses. While shadowing with the cardiologist, I observed many appointments with patients solely to alter the dose of their medication.

In addition to my volunteering, shadowing, and research experiences here at the University of Florida, I have been involved with a variety of campus organizations. I am currently a member of the University of Florida Honors Program and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society as well as a sister of Zeta Tau Alpha, a fraternity supporting Breast Cancer Awareness and Education. Out of all the organizations I have been a part of, I have been the most involved in the Undergraduate American Medical Women’s Association, a brand new organization to the University of Florida as of fall 2016. A few other female undergraduates and I, who are all very passionate about empowering women in medicine, brought the organization to campus. The goal of our organization is to assist undergraduate women in gaining medical experience that will make them more competitive when applying to medical school. As president-elect of the organization, I look forward to growing the organization’s presence on campus in the near future.

In my free time, I love drawing things in nature and going to yoga. I find yoga to be very intellectually beneficial and hope to get certified as a yoga instructor in the future. I also enjoy visiting my family in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, where my favorite summers have been spent. Overall, my experiences thus far at the University of Florida have reaffirmed my aspiration to become a physician, and I will be applying to medical school this upcoming spring. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Undergraduate American Medical Women’s Association, feel free to reach out to me. We would love to have you become a part of our new and growing organization!