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From Florida to F&M: Kat Gunther's Path to Neurology

When Katherine Gunther '23 was searching for colleges, she knew she wanted three things: an academically rigorous experience, a college near family but out of her home state of Florida, and a chance to play softball. F&M checked all the boxes.

"Right when I stepped on campus, I fell in love with it," said Gunther, known to her friends as 'Kat.'

When Gunther was accepted to F&M with financial aid, she was ecstatic that her plans for college were seamlessly falling into place. She entered her first year eager to play on F&M's softball team and to begin exploring the College's STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) majors.

Gunther is fascinated by STEM and all it has to offer. She described enjoying chemistry, biology, and psychology, noting that she's intrigued by "how we think and why we think that way." She crafted an educational experience that allows her to explore all of these interests by majoring in neuroscience and minoring in psychology.

Though not initially sure what career she wanted to pursue, an experience with migraines and her volunteer work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) illuminated a path.

"I had migraine issues last semester and was working with a neurologist, and I enjoyed that experience," she said. "I thought it could be a good path to follow."

With MDA, a nonprofit health agency dedicated to curing muscular dystrophy, ALS and related diseases, Gunther volunteered at a camp for kids with muscular dystrophy (MD) and neuromuscular diseases.

"It was so fulfilling, helping them out," she said. "It's the best time of the year for them because they're with other kids with MD and they feel normal. They don't have to feel left out. It's a very fulfilling experience."

These experiences guided Gunther toward a future in neurology, working with kids like those she engaged with at the camp. She now plans to attend medical school after graduation.

Gunther is cognizant that all these opportunities would not be possible without her financial aid.

"I'm very grateful for the financial aid I receive here," she said. "If I didn't have it, I don't think I'd be able to come here."

Absent financial aid, she likely would have compromised her college checklist and attended an institution in her home state of Florida. So, in gratitude to F&M's generosity, she's working hard to enjoy every aspect of the college experience she dreamed about as a high school student.

"It's made me want to apply myself a lot more," she said. "Just knowing that I was given this great opportunity, I don't want to take it for granted. I'm so grateful that I can go here."

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