Suffield’s College Counseling and Development Offices hosted a college-to-career virtual discussion on February 18. The program invites Suffield alums to speak with juniors in Suffield’s Leadership Program about their careers, college major choices, and experiences at Suffield. The goal of the events is to expose current students to life beyond Suffield and provide guidance from alumni professionals working in specific fields.
Kachenta Descartes is a fourth-year medical student at the Frank H. Netter MD Medical School at Quinnipiac University in North Haven, Connecticut. After graduating from Suffield Academy in 2011, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Neuroscience and Behavior from Columbia University in 2015 and a Master of Biomedical Sciences from Rutgers University in 2016. Kachenta is originally from Brooklyn, New York, and is a first-generation American, college student, and physician. She is currently applying to Obstetrics and Gynecology residency in the northeast and will be graduating this May. Kachenta has a passion for women’s health care in underrepresented, underserved populations and spoke about her journey from Suffield to Columbia to medical school and the importance of STEM education.
“I often tell people being at Suffield was the best four years of my life,” she noted. “It was a great experience and shaped who I am today. The skills you are learning now prepare you for college and make you more independent than the others. I learned that the most difficult part of college is just getting in. Once you are there be sure to utilize the services they are providing and for what you are paying. Get your money’s worth.” Offering advice to Suffield’s juniors and speaking on the relevance of STEM education Kachenta acknowledged overcoming imposter syndrome and having the confidence to succeed. “As a woman in medicine you need to be confident and I’ve always enjoyed challenge and helping people. You have to remember how you’ve earned your way and that you belong where you are. When I look back at my grades and everything I was involved in I realize I am the perfect fit for this career and deserved it in every way.”
Juniors preparing for the college application process are heavily supported by their college counselors and alumni mentors. Selecting a college is an extremely important decision in their adolescent lives, and the mentoring sessions provide positive insight into many unanswered questions. It is made very clear that communication is a key to success and there is more than one way to accomplish a rewarding future.