Learning from ‘Growing Up Baylor’

Today’s medical, graduate and health professions students may just be starting to think about how their careers will unfold over the next decade and beyond. But for those considering staying at Baylor for the next step in their career, they can turn to role models who have “grown up Baylor.”

These physicians, researchers and advanced practice providers have spent their training and careers at Baylor, many now serving in academic leadership roles. They are regularly profiled in the “Growing Up Baylor” series on Baylor’s blog, Momentum. The question-and-answer style posts highlight their motivations for pursuing science and medicine and how Baylor has impacted them.

Read these excerpts from Growing Up Baylor:

Stephanie DeSandro, PA-C

Assistant Professor, School of Health Professions – Physician Assistant Program

Alumna of Physician Assistant Program

Stephanie Desandro, PA-C

Where and when did your journey with Baylor College of Medicine start?

I had no idea about the physician assistant (PA) profession in college. Medical school seemed like the only choice for fulfilling my goals as a clinician. However, I had a friend who was accepted into a PA program and after in-depth discussions, I realized that the PA profession was exactly what I wanted. I would obtain the necessary knowledge and skills to care for patients, have the ability to change specialty areas easily, and have a good salary all in a relatively short amount of time.

I wanted to be in a nationally ranked program, and Baylor was ranked third in the nation. It had a rigorous curriculum that would provide me with the foundation necessary to care for patients. Nineteen years later, I feel blessed that my interviewers saw something in me worthy of a PA degree.

Dr. William Decker
Associate professor of pathology and immunology
Alumnus of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

Dr. William Decker

How has sticking with Baylor programs and ultimately becoming a faculty member impacted your life and career?

Baylor is one of the best institutions in the United States, if not the world, to receive basic training and instruction. The years of my degree training corresponded almost precisely with the years that the human genome sequencing initiative was ramping up and, ultimately, delivering to the world the very first complete sequence of a human genome. And of course, Baylor’s Human Genome Sequencing Center was ground zero for that initiative.

The passion I had ultimately convinced the people who would hire me back as faculty that I deserved a shot. Now that I’m here, I can’t imagine leaving. I know my parents (who also are Baylor faculty members) are thrilled that I’ve chosen to make a career here, just as I would be thrilled if one of my children chose to follow in my footsteps one day.

Dr. Diana Stewart
Assistant professor of medicine and pediatrics
Alumna of the School of Medicine

Dr. Diana Stewart

What inspired you to continue studying within Baylor programs?

While at Baylor, I decided to pursue a combined residency program in internal medicine and pediatrics. I began interviewing at outside institutions but realized the patient diversity, multiple professional opportunities, caring community, diverse city, and close proximity to home was unmatched by other programs. Therefore, I decided to continue studying at Baylor.

However, it is important that if you do most of your training at one institution, you seek outside national and global opportunities to remain open to other perspectives and gain diversity of thought, which is what I have done throughout my training.