When 2017 graduate Sean Aqui started his freshman year at Southwestern Adventist University (SWAU) in Keene, Texas, United States, he didn’t anticipate that a business degree would lead him to medical school. He planned to become a physician, like his parents, and began as a biology major. Yet, Aqui soon realized that his interests were not limited to anatomy and physiology.
“I wanted a different set of skills to accompany my dedication to working with the human body,” Aqui said.
SWAU offered him the opportunity to diversify his education and prepare for medical school with a Bachelor of Science in business degree designed for pre-professional study. The program allowed him to gain business skills while completing necessary medical school pre-requisites.
“Business classes are much more collaborative than in other areas of study,” Aqui explains. “You learn … extremely helpful skills to have as a medical professional, and it was nice to have the best of both worlds as I prepared for my future.”
Aqui shares that SWAU taught him how to think critically, study efficiently, and manage his time well, all of which translated to success in medical school. He also found that the environment at SWAU helped him keep his priorities straight, giving him a strong foundation of Christian faith.
“It was a time when I was trying to figure out who I was and what was important to me,” he says. “SWAU was a great environment for that because it gave me space to solidify my own values, so when I left what was familiar, I had a firm grasp of what was truly important.”
Aqui went on to successfully complete medical training at UT Health San Antonio’s Long School of Medicine in San Antonio, Texas. Upon graduation, he was ranked number one in his class of more than 200 students, scoring in the top 5th percentile for the MCAT and USMLE STEP exams and matching into the University of Pennsylvania — an Ivy League school — to begin its world-renowned residency program in anesthesiology.
Even now, Aqui still stays in touch with his SWAU professors, such as Ana Patterson, interim university president and former professor of business, and Gerald Springer, professor of mathematics and physical science.
“The professors care about you both in and out of the classroom,” Aqui said. “They support you, help you talk things out, and offer guidance as you set broad and specific goals for your life.”
As Aqui continues to develop his career, he is confident that the skills he gained as a SWAU student will impact his life for the better.
“SWAU is where I found who I was,” he concluded. “It was there I started thinking for myself and developing my character.… They equipped me with the tools I need to achieve whatever it is I set my mind to. I look forward to seeing where those skills take me.”