Nearing a major milestone in her aspiring medical career, Tia Vernon ’08 recently returned to Alverno to study for Step 2 of the U.S. Medical Licensing Examination, most often referred to as the board exam. When asked why she comes back to campus to study, she explains, “With so much going on, I needed a place that was peaceful and fosters thinking; one that promotes problem solving. Being here has always helped me to figure out who I am and where I need to go.”


Recognized by both peers and teachers for her self-direction and confidence as a leader, Tia has by no means had an easy road to get to where she is today. She grew up in Milwaukee’s inner city, attending John Marshall High School located on the city’s north side. An accomplished student all her life who always had a keen interest in science, Tia knew since fifth grade that she wanted to become a doctor.


For Tia, there was only one college and that was Alverno. “I only applied to Alverno. I knew the smaller class sizes would work to my benefit and I felt really comfortable here. You don’t have a lot of role models when you grow up in the inner city, so coming to Alverno turned my pipe dream into reality.”


Before graduating from Alverno with a double major in biology and psychology, Tia attended an elite summer research program offered through the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). One of just 50 students selected nationally, the Summer Program for Undergraduate Research enables college students with an interest in science to learn firsthand about the potential of a career in the biomedical sciences.


Not only did the experience confirm her desire to be a doctor, but she also set her sights on MCW as her first choice for medical school. She worked for a year after graduating from Alverno, and started at MCW in 2009. While medical school has been challenging, Tia feels well-prepared for it, thanks to the rigorous curriculum at Alverno. And her advisors echo that preparedness.


Dawn S. Bragg, Ph.D., associate dean, Student Affairs/Diversity, shares, “Tia has been a wonderful addition to our MCW student body. Her compassion and commitment to health care are immediately evident in her academic work, student organizations and community service. Tia has set high standards for herself; she is self-directed, confident and is a leader. She possesses all the qualities of a compassionate and competent physician and I look forward to her contributions in providing health care to our communities.”


In true Alverno spirit, Tia volunteers at the free Saturday Clinic for the Uninsured, a collaborative effort organized by MCW and Columbia St. Mary’s, at a clinic on Humboldt and North Avenues. Between the volunteer opportunity and the clinical experience during her third year of medical school, Tia settled on internal medicine as her primary medical focus.


She explains that what she enjoys most about internal medicine is that it requires a tremendous amount of critical thinking, plus a lot of problem solving to arrive at a diagnosis. She continues, “Now that I think about it, that’s precisely what I learned at Alverno.”


Click on the 2011-12 President’s Report to read more amazing stories like the one featuring Tia.