We get to do a lot of fun things working in college athletics, but I don’t think there is anything I enjoy more than sharing the experiences of our current and former student-athletes. Earlier this week, we learned that alumni swimming and diving letter winner Austen Thompson was accepted into Arizona’s MD-PhD program, which will give him the opportunity to earn both MD and PhD degrees over the next seven to eight years. That, in and of itself, is something to celebrate, but when you consider that only two of over 100 applicants were selected, you can see why we’re so excited to share the news.
Austen has been a model student-athlete ever since he stepped on campus in 2008. He earned bachelor’s degrees in molecular and cellular biology and in physiology in 2012, graduating cum laude in both areas of study. He’s currently working on a master’s in physiological sciences. While swimming, Austen served as a team captain his senior year and finished off a career that saw him earn a National Championship in the 400-yard individual medley, seven All-America honors, an Academic All-District nod and a place on the State Farm Good Neighbor team. He was also a two-year member of our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and to cap it all off, was named Homecoming King.
Through the MD-PhD program, Austen will have the chance to spend his first two years at medical school followed by a completion of graduate course work and dissertation research. Then, he’ll need to complete the clinical medical school requirements to finish off the program.
(Reprinted from Greg Byrne’s Wildcat Wednesday for University of Arizona Athletics – January 2015)