The Honors Community
- Honors College alumnus.
- Toronto, Ontario.
Benson Joseph always knew beyond the shadow of a doubt he wanted to enter the medical profession.
Growing up, he would join his mother, an ICU nurse, each October on Take Your Kids to Work Day to observe intensivists and doctors at the hospital. This experience sparked an early interest and by the time he reached high school, Joseph had amassed nearly 1,000 hours of community service shadowing anyone he could in the health care field.
“I really grew in my love for medicine and thought this might be something that I might want to do in the future,” he said.
During his senior year in high school, Joseph participated in several mission trips to Mexico to bring medical care to those without access. In addition to bringing medical supplies, the volunteers, doctors and dentists set up a free clinic for two weeks. Joseph also led an information session on diabetes for residents, as part of a series of presentations on health care.
“That’s when I knew this is what I wanted to do with my life,” he said. “The mission trips got me on fire to go into the medical profession.”
Joseph took that passion to Virginia Commonwealth University, where he enrolled in The Honors College and its guaranteed admission program to the university’s School of Medicine. He used the resources of the program to shadow staff at the VCU Medical Center and prepare for his post-undergraduate career.
“In the guaranteed program, they required us to get experience so we know what we’re getting into in medical school,” said Joseph, who graduated in May 2009. “It was a good way to get acclimated and learn about the kind of services they offer and the quality of care.”
Observing medical staff has also allowed Joseph to explore his options for specialization.
“In high school, I wanted to be a cardiologist or a pediatrician,” he said. “Once I came to VCU and actually shadowed, I found there were so many things going on — so many different professions and specialties. Now there are all of these avenues for me to look into.”
Joseph’s experiences in The Honors College left him feeling prepared to face medical school and ultimately reach his aspirations in the field.
“The Honors College isn’t an institution as much as a group of people who care about each other and are trying to go to the same place,” he said. “They uplift me and allow me to see my goals and get to a place where I can reach those goals. It definitely prepared me to be a contributing citizen of the world.”
“The people in The Honors College uplift me and allow me to see my goals.”