As an avowed foodie who began working in her father’s restaurant at age 12, Stephanie Allred has applied the “try it, you’ll like it” approach to her medical education. The Kansas City native wanted to get some hands-on experience working with an OB/GYN last summer, so she signed up for the Rural Scholar's Summer Community Program and headed to Sikeston.
She had a great experience in the southeast Missouri town learning from preceptor Jennifer Nickell, MD ’99.
“As a city girl, I had never thought about being able to live and enjoy rural Missouri so much,” said Allred, a second-year medical student. “I really liked the community, and the preceptor I was with was an amazing doc. She taught me a lot about medicine but also let me mine her whole personal life for information about what it’s like to be an OB in a small practice and how it affects her family life. She helped me start thinking about how a career in OB might look in my future.”
The respect was mutual.
“Stephanie was very enthusiastic, which is contagious in our work environment,” Nickell said. “Teaching students who are soaking in every moment really helps me to remember why I went into medicine and helps me focus on the positive impact we as physicians have in our community. Stephanie will make a great physician.”
Allred began thinking about becoming a doctor in high school. She majored in biochemistry at the University of Oklahoma and dabbled in other areas, with a triple minor in French, women’s and gender studies and African studies. During her junior year, she spent a semester in Uganda as a volunteer in a medical clinic. “After that, I was really sure that medicine was what I wanted to do,” Allred said. “That gave me more confidence that I could do it.”
At the MU School of Medicine, she has continued to try and like new experiences. She is a co-chair of the gender-affirming clinic at the MedZou Community Health Clinic, which provides free health care to uninsured patients. Allred, who is passionate about helping others, received some help on her medical journey when she was awarded the Class of 1988 Scholarship for this school year.
“On an emotional note, it meant so much that it came from a class of physicians,” she said. “I’m learning more and more that the only way to succeed in medicine is to have a really strong support system and mentors who help you get there.”