Youssef Sabet has lived in the states since 2010. He and his family immigrated from Egypt when he was in middle school.
Sabet’s mom is a diabetic and trying to work around the financial and language barriers proved difficult for the family. It also planted the seed in Sabet’s heart for a career in medicine.
“We had a hard time keeping up with the medications for my mom and communicating with the doctors and the pharmacy,” Sabet recalled. “We felt hopeless. That stays stuck in my mind even as I study.”
A recent graduate of Trevecca’s biology and chemistry programs, Sabet is currently enrolled in Lincoln Memorial University’s Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine program. He said through his work in medicine, he hopes to address some of the challenges immigrants face when navigating health care in a new country.
And Sabet is using what he learned at Trevecca to pursue that.
“I remember in the biology department, the professors used to push us hard,” Sabet said. “Now, I understand why. Medical school is all about studying even harder and learning even more material than we learned during our undergraduate years.”
Trevecca’s biology and chemistry programs are housed in the Department of Science, Engineering and Mathematics. Dr. Alisha Russell, associate professor of biology, shared that the department’s integrative approach helps shape strong graduates, like Sabet.
"Through the biology program, students learn critical thinking, scientific communication and laboratory skills," Russell explained. "When paired with the extensive hands-on experience in research and instrument-based chemistry and the pure and applied mathematics approaches in the department, students leave Trevecca wholly prepared for doctoral programs, residencies and medical research programs," Russell said.
“A lot of our students really want to serve others through medical care, but we have a lot of students interested in physician assistant programs, medical school and medical research,” Russell said. “ We also have students who have gone to graduate school to study ecology and creation care. The goal is to give all students a really solid foundation with the scientific world and the use of electives to cater to their specific calling.”
Like Sabet, 2019 graduate Kimberly Jayne decided to pursue medicine because she saw the need for quality healthcare in her own family. Jayne is from Belvidere, Tennessee, a small, rural community in Franklin County, about an hour from Nashville. Belvidere is part of the Appalachian region, which lacks access to healthcare options.
When Jayne’s grandfather was diagnosed with cancer, that deficiency became even more apparent.
“He went through treatment for over four years, and seeing how medicine works and how the doctors were there for him, that prompted me to delve deeper,” Jayne said. “I was pretty sure I wanted to do medicine, but was unsure about what path I'd take. I did some shadowing, and I just really loved the work—the way you’re able to reach out to patients, build ongoing relationships with them, help the families feel better no matter what they are going through. That confirmed for me that this is what I wanted to do, and thanks to Trevecca, I’ve felt well prepared so far.”
Russell said she credits that to the academic rigor of the programs, something both Jayne and Sabet can attest to.
“The professors knew what to teach, and they taught with intention. I actually use the powerpoints from those classes to review—they match exactly what we’re doing,” Sabet said. “The professors have a real interest to see their students succeed and reach their maximum potential, and I personally was able to find guidance whenever I needed it.”
Sabet will graduate from Lincoln Memorial in 2023, after which he hopes to come back to Nashville to help serve his home community.
“We see more and more needs, and my ultimate and overarching goal is to share the love of Christ through providing medical care,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
For more information about Trevecca’s Department of Science, Engineering and Mathematics, click here.