Class of 2018: Ahmet Yildirim

Ahmet is graduating with a Master of Education in Kinesiology - Exercise Physiology.

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How did your journey bring you to Curry?

I graduated from UVA in 2016 with a B.S. in biochemistry, but I was not accepted into any of the medical schools I had applied to my fourth year. I knew that I still wanted to apply to medical schools in the future, so I was looking for a program or job that could guarantee me clinical experience. I had heard about this specific program from friends that were in it, and they suggested that I look into it. I researched the program's curriculum and opportunities online and knew that this program would be a marriage of my interests in medicine as well as personal fitness and leading a healthy lifestyle. I downloaded the application to fill out, submitted it, and the next week I was admitted into Curry.


What is the most significant thing that has shaped your time while you've been here?

The clinical experiences have definitely been the highlight in shaping me. I was able to work alongside physical therapists and nurses at the UVA cancer center to prescribe individualized exercise programs that were constructed by the patients' goals and abilities. I also had the opportunity to work at the Martha Jefferson Health and Wellness Center where my classmates and I educated and encouraged both cardiac and pulmonary patients to lead healthy lifestyles through continued exercise and monitored nutrition habits from what we had learned in the classroom.


If you can, name one person at Curry who has made a special impact during your studies and how?

To be honest, all of my instructors at Curry did a fantastic job teaching me that I am confident in saying that I can uniquely apply what I have learned here out in the real world. If I had to choose one though, I would have to name Dr. Art Weltman. His time and expertise spent in the field of exercise physiology do not go unnoticed beyond the classroom. His approach to academia encourages me to question my own reasonings, responses, and applications of exercise as a use of alternative medicine as well as its means of training. Even though my class had to run a 2-mile time trial in 20-degree weather with added windchill for one of his laboratory protocols, I credit him for my ability to critically review medical journals.


What is one thing you learned here that surprised you?

I learned that the mitochondria are more than just the powerhouses of the cell, but aside from that, I learned that the clinical field will continue to humble me throughout my practice. The reality is that disease does not discriminate; it does not care about one's sex, age, race, orientation, income or political views. Therefore, each walk of life I have encountered during my time at Curry, and have yet to encounter, will further enlighten the way in which I practice medicine.


What will you be doing next? 

I am happy to say that, as of right now, I will be attending West Virginia University School of Medicine to receive my MD. Go Mountaineers! I have not studied all of the medical disciplines in depth, so I do not know which particular field of medicine I will specialize in. However, I do want to apply my knowledge and expertise on exercise physiology in my practice when it is deemed appropriate.