Alumni Spotlight: Breanna Tuhlei '17

Breanna Tuhlei graduated from Drury in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Biology and ACS Chemistry with a minor in Physics. She earned a full ride scholarship to the University of Missouri-Columbia to pursue a dual M.D.-Ph.D.

From an early age, Breanna knew she wanted to pursue a career as a physician. Her work and research at Drury caused her to realize she wanted to be scientist as well. “Fortunately, I discovered that I could combine my two passions for a unique career that will allow me to practice medicine and conduct research,” she explains. “The M.D.-Ph.D. will allow me to help bridge the gap in medical research where clinical experience and scientific knowledge are often both invaluable to discovery and innovative treatments.”

Professors were integral to Breanna’s success at Drury. She was pushed to think bigger, work harder, and reach further. “Because of the small size of the department, I was able to complete two independent research projects and meet with my research mentors often to discuss research problems,” she says. “These experiences gave me insight into how research is conducted that may not have been possible at a larger institution.”

During the medical school admissions process, professors served as personal resources. “My advisors provided guidance and feedback on my personal statements and applications, and conducted mock interviews with me. I could not imagine enduring that process without having that immense support,” she says.

Breanna urges underclassmen to explore diverse course offerings. “Take the classes you think you will like, but also take the ones you think you will hate,” she advises. “In particular, I remember thinking that I would dislike bacterial genetics and Shakespeare, and I fell in love with both by the time I graduated.”

Once students have discovered their passions, Breanna encourages them to jump in with both feet. “College is too short to do anything half-heartedly,” she says.