Health Professions Advising Office (HPAO)
University of Mississippi

Karina Rodriguez

Pre-medical Student Karina Rodriguezfrom Southaven, MS


Why did you decide to pursue this health profession? Growing up, I always knew I wanted a career in which I would be helping others. In elementary school I wanted to be a teacher but that was just a phase. I soon discovered I was very intrigued by medicine. Throughout high school, my passion for medicine grew. I shadowed various departments in my local hospital and confirmed that I wanted to be a physician. In high school, I also volunteered at LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, and I absolutely loved it! I have always loved being around kids, so I decided I wanted to go into pediatrics. I loved the idea of this because I knew I would be able to form long-term, meaningful relationships with my patients and their families. I would also love to serve as a mentor for these children if they begin to show interest in medicine, something I wish I had growing up.

What is your major and why did you choose it? I am majoring in biology and minoring in chemistry and general business. I chose to major in biology because I have always been fascinated with all the science classes I took in high school, and I knew having this background would be beneficial in medical school. I also decided to minor in general business because I think it’s a great foundation to have in any profession you go into. My parents have their own business, and neither of them have a college education. They have inspired me to one day have my own business.

How has the HPAO helped you? The HPAO has helped me in so many ways. Coming into college, I knew I wanted to go to medical school, but being a first generation student, I had no idea how to do that. The HPAO has helped me navigate my undergraduate years by ensuring that I take the classes that I need to graduate on time and to fulfill all medical school requirements. They have helped me get involved on campus and throughout the LOU community by informing me of the many organizations I can join. They have also helped me find summer programs to participate in and take advantage of, which I would not have heard of otherwise. Additionally, they have guided me in my MCAT journey by ensuring I have a good plan in place to be successful. Finally, the HPAO has made me aware of many scholarships that are available for health professions and STEM students. I am extremely grateful for the HPAO, and all health professions students should definitely take advantage of this wonderful resource.

What is your most memorable experience working with the HPAO? My most memorable experience working with the HPAO is when I worked a Saturday visit day in December. It was a very memorable experience talking to prospective students and their families because I enjoy offering my advice and experiences to these students to help them transition into college and to answer their questions about their health professions journey. I know how overwhelming it can be as an incoming student, and I am grateful that I can serve as a resource for them.

What are your career goals? My career goals are to be a pediatrician and serve in a rural, disadvantaged area. I would also love to serve in an area with a large Hispanic population to take advantage of my bilingual skills and help those with a language barrier.

What is your favorite meal in Oxford? Pad Thai Noodles with Chicken from Rice & Spice

What are you happiest doing when not working or studying? When I am not working or studying, I enjoy quality spending time with family and friends or just watching Netflix and doing absolutely nothing else. I also love trying new restaurants!