Exercise science grad heads to medical school

Recent graduate Trent Griner is making a career out of caring for people. He will be pursuing a career as a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) at the South Georgia Campus of the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

The sense of community at Berry made it the perfect place for Trent’s love of people. “I came to Berry because I knew I wanted to go into medicine, and I understood that Berry had an exceptional science program,” he says. “It offered me a beautiful location where I could learn from very passionate professors in very small classes.”

Trent knew he wanted a career in medicine, but Berry helped him find his path. “I initially came in as a biology major,” he says. “I was interested in it, and enjoyed the classes, but I wanted something more human-specific.” After switching his major to exercise science in his sophomore year, Trent knew he had found where he belonged.

A Culture of Mentorship

He found a mentor in his academic advisor, Associate Professor of Kinesiology Angela Baldwin-Lanier. “She has been with me through the majority of the hard part of the journey to medical school, encouraging me and supporting me,” he says. “She’s been an incredible person to learn from and to grow with.”

Trent found opportunities to build relationships all over campus. He held several LifeWorks positions on campus, including as a research assistant for Assistant Professor of Communication Samantha Nazione. Working for Dr. Nazione allowed him to learn about the research process and even travel to Chicago to present his findings.

He was also a peer educator in the counseling center on campus, where he worked as part of a team to provide health information to students to help them make healthy decisions. The team works under Marshall Jenkins and Terri Cordle, the director and associate director of the counseling center, respectively. “They’ve been fantastic resources as I’ve grown toward a career in medicine,” Trent says. “They’ve been entirely supportive of my career goals and have been amazing to work with in terms of just allowing me professional and personal growth during my time with them.”

Reflecting the Berry Vision

His work in the counseling center led him to be the male recipient of the Top Student Work Award. Trent also earned one of Berry’s highest honors, the Martha Berry Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement Award. The award recognizes a senior whose achievement fulfills Berry’s mission of intellectual, moral and spiritual growth. “That award meant a lot,” he says. “It was really important to me to have so many people that I respect so greatly acknowledge what I’ve done over the last four years.”

Now, Trent’s achievements at Berry are leading him to a career that reflects Berry’s focus on the head, heart and hands. As a D.O., he would be a fully licensed physician, but with a focus on looking beyond the symptoms to see the patient as a whole person. “People think that since you’re studying exercise science, you want to coach, or you want to be an athletic trainer, but there are so many other options,” Trent says. “The department has done an incredible job of coaching me along and helping me where I needed it and supporting me in my journey to medical school.”

Written by junior Shannon Rainey

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