Taylor Goss ’18, a Health Sciences graduate currently working on her second master’s degree before applying to medical school, did not grow up wanting to be a physician.
“Medicine was not the thing I always wanted to do,” Goss recalls. “I was super squeamish.”
She had her aha moment when she was a senior in high school and working in an optometrist’s office.
One day, a little girl came in with her mom. It was a routine visit, but the doctor took Goss aside and asked her to start calling neurologists so he could make a referral.
The doctor told Goss he suspected the child had a pituitary brain tumor. Even though it was not within his scope of practice, Goss was impressed by how he was able to connect the dots through the child’s symptoms and know how to get her to the best care possible.
“Being someone who has always enjoyed using logic to solve puzzles, I was intrigued,” Goss says.
Goss never found out what happened to the young girl; but she felt empowered by playing a small role in helping to get her the care she needed.
“I just have to trust that I was there for a particular moment in their life,” Goss says.
Goss was set to become a legal studies major that fall at UCF, but that experience changed her mind.
She changed her focus from legal studies to a double degree in biomedical sciences and health sciences.
Even though the double degrees took longer to complete, she says the extra time allowed her to focus on aspects of healthcare that were especially interesting to her. She got involved in undergraduate research with health sciences faculty Michael Rovito to study the health behaviors of adolescent men.
“By the time I graduated, I was one of his research coordinators,” Goss says, “But my main ‘baby’ was a project developing a survey to measure the health behavior indicators of adolescent and young males. From that, I developed my honors undergraduate thesis, “Investigating a Potential Relationship Between Sibling Gender Composition and Health Behavior Indicators in Young Adult and Adolescent Males.”
Goss also became involved with the American Medical Women’s Association and started a local chapter at UCF. Eventually, she was named president of the pre-medical division of the national organization.
Through her experience working on health campaigns in AMWA, she developed an interest in health policy, which along with her public health research under Rovito, led her to pursue a Master of Public Health degree at Columbia University. During her time there, she gained valuable experience in research and health policy.
Last year, Goss received her MPH from Columbia. She is currently studying for a master’s degree in bioethics at Harvard University, and will start the process of applying to medical schools later this year.
She liked the idea of having a wide-spread impact on communities and populations, but she found that what she was really craving were the one-on-one patient interactions – something she feels she would get as a physician.
“The privilege of being at these amazing schools and doing these amazing things wouldn’t have happened without getting my start at UCF,” Goss says.
There were some bumpy patches, Goss says. Taking the science-based courses required for the double degree was taxing, she admits.
“But I would say that especially now, being out of UCF and a little further removed from studying those difficult classes, I am so grateful for the education that UCF gave me, particularly the health sciences classes.”
Goss says she feels confident about continuing her journey into medical school because of the preparation she received in health sciences.
“I feel I have a better understanding of the application of the clinical knowledge because of my major in health sciences,” Goss says. “The program gave me the actual real-life knowledge, which is necessary for me to have as I go into medical school.”