18 July 2022 On Path to Medical School, Bonagura ’22 Starts with Public Health

In the fall, Allie Bonagura ’22 will head to the University of Iowa to earn her master’s in public health.

At HWS, Allie Bonagura ’22 forged her own academic path, designing a major in “Healthcare, Identity and Equity.” After a rigorous application process to graduate school, Bonagura secured a place at the College of Public Health at the University of Iowa, a top 20 program in the United States, where she will earn her master’s in public health (MPH) in the Community and Behavioral Health Program.

In creating her major, Bonagura says she incorporated internships and volunteer experiences into the traditional STEM major on the pre-med track. “Forming my own major allowed for those things, but it also created opportunities where I was forced to change my way of thinking. It exposed me to different types of teaching, and different types of literature and research.”

In addition, professional opportunities secured through the Salisbury Center for Career, Professional and Experiential Education drove her toward a degree in public health.

During the spring of 2021, Bonagura attended a drop-in session with the Health Professions Advisory Committee, a group of faculty members and administrators including Health Professions Advisor Scott McPhail. Bonagura says she also had a meaningful conversation with Associate Director of Career Services Shayne Feinberg P’17, P’20 and her husband Dr. Jason Feinberg ’89, P’17, P’20.

“Dr. Feinberg was the first one who suggested getting my MPH in my gap years before medical school,” says Bonagura. “That was a great conversation that really validated my goals and changed the trajectory of my plan.”

During her senior spring, Bonagura completed an independent study in which she partnered with local organizations focused on alleviating food insecurity in the Geneva, N.Y. and surrounding communities.

In addition to her studies, Bonagura completed an internship with the Family Counseling Services of the Finger Lakes. She served as a senior chapter leader of the Public Leadership Education Network and as an intern in the William Smith Dean’s Office. After earning her master’s, Bonagura hopes to go to medical school and become a pediatrician.

“I think public health is a missing piece in many of our medical practices in the U.S. I hope that by getting my MPH and continuing to focus on underserved populations in the U.S., I will be able to really make a difference in people’s lives through my medical practice.”