Chemistry alumna's journey to become a doctor made possible by Barry professor

Brittny Randolph’s journey with medicine began when she was 11 years old. For four straight months, Randolph and her family would make daily trips to the neonatal intensive care unit at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston to check on the progress of their newest family members – a twin brother and sister who were born prematurely. During her visits, Randolph would trace the words “I love you” on the outside of the newborns’ incubators and sing the lyrics of the Destiny’s Child song “Survivor.”

Following months of care in the neonatal intensive care unit, the twins were moved home, where their heart rates and oxygen levels were monitored by machines. Occasionally, when the machines would sound an alarm, Randolph would race to the twins’ cribs to make sure they were OK.

“In my mind, I was their protector, and I had the power to make them strong and healthy and, in return, they gave my life purpose,” said Randolph, who earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Barry University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2012. “In retrospect, my brother and sister were my first patients. They survived.”

Since then, Randolph has continued to pursue her desire to become a doctor, although her chosen path has not always been easy, she said. Although Randolph received financial aid from Barry University as an undergraduate student, she struggled to finance the remainder of her tuition payments toward the end of her senior year. Dr. Tony Wallner, chair, professor and associate dean of Barry’s Department of Physical Sciences, helped Randolph apply for and obtain two scholarships, which ultimately helped her cover her tuition costs and graduate.

“Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that someone cared so much about my success that they would make the seemingly impossible possible,” Randolph said. “Without a doubt, if it was not for Dr. Wallner, I would not have crossed the stage in front of my family and friends … My eyes well up with tears every time I think about what he did for me and my future.”

In addition to the support she received from Wallner and other faculty from the Department of Physical Sciences, Randolph also relied on the support of various divisions and departments across Barry’s campus, she said, including the Division of Student Affairs, the Center for Student Involvement, the Student Health Center, the Office of Mission Integration and others.

Shortly after graduating from Barry, Randolph was presented with the opportunity of taking a discounted MCAT-preparatory course in South Florida but was unsure of how to finance her expenses without a steady job. Wallner stepped in to help Randolph, again, and offered her a part-time job working as a laboratory assistant for Barry’s Department of Physical Sciences.

“Not only did the job offer me financial stability, but I was also able to study for the MCAT, and I reinforced many of the chemistry concepts that I am required to know for the test by serving as a teaching assistant and tutoring on the side,” Randolph said.

In the fall, Randolph will start the newest chapter in her journey to become a doctor by starting a master’s degree in medical sciences at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Upon completion of the one-year pre-professional program at USF, Randolph plans to continue to medical school.

“Brittny is a highly motivated young woman who has worked very hard to accomplish her goals,” Wallner said. “She has great leadership skills and a positive outlook on her future.”

Although Randolph will be moving to Tampa to begin her graduate studies, she has no doubt that Wallner and her other mentors at Barry will continue to play a significant role in her journey to becoming a doctor.

 “I can honestly say that each of my professors and the staff at Barry have taught me life lessons that I will hold dear for the rest of my life,” Randolph said. “I am Barry Proud!”

For more information about Barry’s Department of Physical Sciences and its undergraduate degree programs, visit http://www.barry.edu/physical-sciences/

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