“Part of what drew me to Ave was the ability to play college athletics,”says 6-foot 8-inch senior Joe Guernsey, who plays center for AMU’s men’s basketball team. Joe is a Biology major with a minor in Family and Society. He is heading to medical school at the University of Florida come the Fall.
“I didn’t decide I was going to go to medical school until sophomore year, after a mission trip with the Mother Teresa Project (MTP) to Mexico City.” There, he helped in a ward for the dying and at Missionary of Charity houses for disabled children. “The experience prompted me to get more involved in service work,” he explains. Joe started volunteering at a youth group in nearby Immokalee and at a low-income community health clinic. Last summer, he volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity at an AIDS hospice in San Francisco. “That was big as far as confirming what I want to do.”
What exactly does Joe want to do?
“I am looking at family practice and how to serve the community,” he says. His grandfather was a family practice doctor who worked with the Missionaries of Charity in the Bronx during the summer for twenty-five years. “His example inspired me,” Joe goes on. “I like family practice because you are able to treat all age ranges, and you get to develop long-term relationships with patients.” Speaking of relationships, Joe is getting married to fellow classmate Hannah Salamida after they graduate in May. The friendships formed at AMU are often, quite literally, lifelong.
Other ties are formed at Ave that shape the future of its students, such as the dozens of mentors from among the faculty and staff who offer support and make it a priority to be available to the students. “Zachary Crockett, Coordinator of Career Services, was really helpful. He led several mock interviews to help me prepare for my medical school interviews,” Joe says. “And Dr. Sallai has been a good advisor and mentor—just another example of the close relationships you can form with the faculty here. What you get at Ave vs. at another school is just that: you aren’t one in many, a number, here.”
Reflecting on his four yeas at AMU, Joe shares: “The rest of my studies will be in science and medicine, but the interdisciplinary core courses, and the ability to study theology and philosophy in addition to a rigorous education in the sciences, has given me a broad foundation. That’s why I would choose Ave again. You can get into medical school from any college. It’s really a matter of how you want to be formed as a person.”