Hillary Purcell ’16

Dartmouth College ’15

Hillary PurcellHillary is from Ohio and earned a degree in Psychology at Dartmouth, entering Bennington's program on the heels of her graduation. While at Dartmouth, Hillary was a Big Sister and tutored middle school students. Her studies in psychology piqued her interest in a medical career and she sought out experiences in the field to confirm this new direction.

“I interned at the Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center and Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center during my junior year of college. I had been thinking about a medical profession prior to those two internships, but they really confirmed that medicine was the right path for me. However, I didn't realize I wanted to be a doctor until it was already too late to finish the pre-med track of classes. I researched a lot of postbac programs, but Bennington seemed like a good fit because of the small size of the program, the cooperative atmosphere, the small-town setting, and the high medical school acceptance rate.

“I loved the cooperative relationship among the postbacs; everyone was really friendly and worked together instead of competing with one another. I found that this decreased the stress of classes and contributed to my learning and progress.

“I did a lot of shadowing at the local hospital during my postbac year, and one of the most interesting aspects of observing doctors in action is seeing the way they react to patients in a variety of situations. They really know how to think on their feet and respond to nuanced inquiries from patients, putting some of the techniques I studied in psychology classes into practice. It was a really useful experience because it allowed me to gain first-hand knowledge of how best to react to patients who may have a variety of mental illnesses or other psychological problems.

“I'm excited to explore the different specialties and choose one to pursue further. I also look forward to getting more hands-on experience during medical school.”