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advancement and alumni engagement

 

Physician in obstetrics and gynecology, Trinity Medical Center

Adoption advocate
Plugged into the community

Lives forever changed 

"It's so amazing to be a part of that moment when someone's life is changed forever. I've been there for thousands of those moments now. It never gets old."

Becoming a doctor had been Karen Clark-Brenot's goal since high school. And her Ambrose biology degree gave her the tools to achieve it. Working in the cadaver lab, which is something most colleges don't offer to undergrads, gave her an advantage over her medical school classmates.

In her own words

How did your Ambrose experience put you ahead of other med students?

Dissecting is a big part of the first year of med school. I could already identify the nerves and arteries, while everyone else was just getting their bearings.

How did St. Ambrose help you to stand out in the med school application process?

Because we had such small classes at Ambrose, I really got to know my professors. When I needed letters of recommendation for my med school applications, they could speak about me as a person, because they knew who I was and what my potential was.

What was it like to deliver your first baby?

After I performed my first delivery as a third-year medical student, I knew this was what I was born to do. When the baby arrived, the family was so excited, and the father had tears in his eyes.

In college you were president of the Student Alumni Association and member of the Campus Activities Board. How do you give back to the community now?

We have patients who are both looking to adopt and to give babies up for adoption. We give them information about adoption agencies and facilitate their meeting. I also help raise funds for the March of Dimes. 

What about Ambrose would you never want to see changed?

It should always have a small community feel. Ambrose has a welcoming atmosphere. You develop good interpersonal skills just by living on campus.

What are you nostalgic about?

I miss the days of hanging out with my friends at VanderVeer Park and eating Whitey's ice cream. But many of the friends I made back then are still my friends today!

What's one of your most memorable Ambrose experiences? 

Being in the audience of The Queen Latifah Show when Al Gore was guest. He came to the Quad Cities during his presidential campaign and Queen Latifah was trying to get young people out to vote. She invited students from Ambrose to be audience members!

How do you keep connected to Ambrose?

My husband and I went on the alumni trip to Italy. Father Bud led the trip and my good friend Matt Ehlman went, too.

Any advice for future students?

Don't dismiss a school because it doesn't have your major. At first, I thought I needed a degree called "pre-med," but my biology degree has brought me this far. The variety of degrees at Ambrose can help you with whatever career you want.