By Erica Thomas, managing editor
TRUSSVILLE — There is one day in every medical student’s life that will put them on the path to where they will end up. Match Day is the day they find out where they will go for their residency. The continued training will allow them to experience the career choice they have made in fine detail.
For one Hewitt-Trussville High School graduate, Match Day was all she had hoped for. Alex Kinzer, HTHS Class of 2013, learned she matched with her number one choice: Pediatrics at UAB. The program ranked Kinzer highly and she learned she would begin the process upon graduation.
Kinzer said she ranked highly in other programs in Louisiana, Michigan, Arkansas, and Missouri, but after years of medical school at UAB, she was happy to find out she would be staying close to home.
“It was a lot of cool places that I could’ve gone,” said Kinzer. “But I really love UAB and I wanted to stay here. I am so thrilled that I don’t have to move across the country.”
For many years, Kinzer knew she wanted to go into medicine. Even as a child, she knew she felt it was her calling to go into the medical field.
“Sometime in late elementary school, I knew I wanted to do this,” Kinzer said. “I had a grandparent that was very, very close to me and she, unfortunately, passed away. That inspired me to go to medical school. Of course, my little sixth-grade brain was like, ‘I want to make it to where nobody loses their grandparent anymore.’ She was my inspiration and she is always still with me when I think about my motivation in pursuing medicine.”
Kinzer’s grandmother, Kay Best, still helps her get through the tough times. She is able to think about her and get through challenges. Another inspiration for Kinzer is her family.
“I want to thank my parents, Kristin and Joey Thrasher, and my amazing spouse, Parker Kinzer, for always encouraging me and supporting me through this journey,” she said.
With a giving heart and an innate vigor to help others, this Trussville native is sure to make a difference in the lives of children and their families throughout her career.
As she moves onto the next phase of medical training, Kinzer will get experience with children from newborns to 18-year-olds. She will get a broad level of training from clinical visits to critical care. Upon competition of her residency, Kinzer hopes to specialize in emergency or intensive care pediatrics.
“I just want to do my best for each patient and help families process whatever the outcome is,” Kinzer said. “It’s not like a job, it’s something that I have always wanted to do so now I get to wake up every day and do it.”
Even during medical school, Kinzer has given back by participating in community programs.
Her training began long before medical school. As a student at HTHS, Kinzer was afforded the opportunity to be a part of the Biomedical Sciences program. She experienced the health care field early on, thanks to the program, and learned many aspects of medicine before graduating high school. It was that foundation that kept Kinzer strong in her field.
“I think high school prepared me very well,” said Kinzer. “I was one of the first few classes that had all four years of the Biomedical Sciences Academy program.”
Kinzer said the program prepared her to think scientifically and get ready for a career in medicine. She knew medical terms and knew how to research before attending medical school.
“Dr. Chris Walters, who was my teacher for those four years, did a fantastic job,” Kinzer added.
Kinzer said she will always be an advocate of the program.
Kinzer will graduate from UAB Medical School in May and will begin her residency at UAB in mid-June.
“I am just super proud to be moving onto the next level of my training and doing it where I am near my family and where I wanted to be,” Kinzer said.
As for the kids growing up and wanting to become doctors one day, Kinzer says anything is possible if you keep your eye on the prize.
“Always follow your dreams, no matter what anyone tells you,” she said. “A lot of people will tell you it’s too hard or it takes too long, but if it is truly what you want to do, then you have all the power to do that. If you are smart enough and brave enough to do it!”