No limits: UA opens doors for pre-med student


Alena Veigl


That is the word which The University of Akron’s pre-med student Hannah Stephen uses to describe her experience at UA.

“I feel like I’ve never been limited,” she said. “I’ve had every opportunity I’ve wanted.”

From doing research at Akron General Hospital to studying abroad in Italy, Stephen has been getting closer to realizing a dream she has had for a long time.

“I always wanted to work with kids,” she said, recalling how she was inspired by the doctors who treated her baby brother after his premature birth.

Stephens hopes to become a pediatrician, and says UA, and its proximity to local hospitals, has made it easy to pursue that goal in her own way.

“Akron is so big, you aren’t limited in your options,” she says. “Having three major hospitals within driving distance, and being in the city … it’s easy to volunteer or shadow anyone. I have access to everything I need. Anything I’ve wanted to do, I’ve been able to do it.”

When she is not studying to become a pediatrician, she volunteers at local hospitals and food banks, and tutors and mentors Akron high school students through a program called “Dream Akron.”  

She recently spent time mentoring one of LeBron James Family Foundation’s I Promise students, a cohort of children in Akron Public Schools who have been identified as needing help with resources, mentorship and encouragement to stay on track to graduation.

Helping others comes naturally at UA, where “you have a support system and a community,” she says, and you “don’t feel like a number.”

“There’s a ton of people here,” Stephens continues, “but I’ve never felt out of place.”

After graduating from UA—what she calls her “second home”—in fall 2018 or spring 2019, she plans to enroll in medical school.

Students' voices: That's what makes us Zips!

More student profiles