Sara Bolivar Wagers
Class of 2024 (MD/PhD)
Undergraduate school attended and major:
University of Central Florida; Biomedical Sciences B.S.
Spanish and English
Favorite activities to do in the Twin Cities?
Kayak around the lakes, play golf, try new restaurants, and go on long walks with my dog.
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota Medical School and what do you like about it?
I was interested in pursuing my PhD in immunology as part of my MD/PhD training and the Center for Immunology at the University of Minnesota is world renowned.
What would you change (areas of development) about the University of Minnesota Medical School?
It’s been 6 years since I started medical school so the changes that I wanted to see have actually now been implemented. For example, the first semester curriculum was quite long (lasting from early August until mid December) with an exam every single day in midterm and finals week increasing the risk for burnout. The exams were also all by hand instead of computerized. Both of these are thankfully no longer the case. I am actually very impressed by how receptive the medical school is regarding student feedback and how they implement such changes to improve our training experience.
What is the relationship between the students and the surrounding community?
The medical students are really focused on connecting with the local community and giving back in any way that we can. This can be through medical school clinical activities, volunteering in clinical and non-clinical settings, tutoring/mentoring younger students interested in medicine, and serving as judges of local science fairs.
Have you participated in any student organizations? If so, why did you select those organizations and what has been your experience?
I have been a part of multiple organizations but my top two are listed below. With the help of other MD/PhD students, we established the first SACNAS chapter at the University of Minnesota which is focused on advancing and supporting minorities in scientific careers. As a minority myself, I wanted to create a safe and supportive space for other students to be successful in science. I also volunteered for two years with Medical Students for Balanced Minds where I led guided meditation and yoga to pediatric patients at the Masonic Children’s Hospital. I am very interested in pediatrics so this was such a wonderful opportunity to interact with kids and actually impact them in ways I never imagined.