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Shalyn Fullerton holds her match letter and poses for a picture being taken with a smartphone during Mayo Clinic Match Day.

May 17, 2024

By Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science staff

Shalyn Fullerton, a graduating medical student from Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in Florida, shares the significance of role models and support from family and friends throughout her medical school experience, and how her education at Mayo Clinic has shaped her future.

Hometown: Redding, California
Undergraduate: University of California - Los Angeles
Specialty you plan to pursue: General Surgery

Growing up, Shalyn was blessed to have several physicians as role models. Her mom managed the front office of an urgent care center, and so Shalyn spent a lot of time at the office throughout her childhood.

"I was inspired by their knowledge and how they could use it to help people in our community," she shared. "Once I was older I ended up working in this same urgent care myself, getting to help in a small way the patients coming into the clinic. I always had a passion for sciences and biology but ultimately loved giving back to those around me. This ultimately led me to pursue a career in medicine."

Looking ahead to her medical education, her time at Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine also provided a multitude of role models. These Mayo Clinic leaders and educators, whom Shalyn looked up to and worked to emulate, demonstrated to her excellence in patient care, research, and innovation.

"At every step of my education at Mayo Clinic, I have been impressed by the residents, fellows, and attendings who have such a clear dedication to the needs of the patient," she explains. "The needs of the patient come first — is something that permeates the culture of Mayo Clinic. Being a part of that culture throughout my training has highlighted that we always must go back to the patient and their needs. This is a part of the legacy that Mayo Clinic has fostered and has played a huge role in my training throughout medical school."

Shalyn also speaks to the importance of having a strong support system.

A change of plans

From the start of medical school, Shalyn intended to choose rural medicine as her specialty in order to practice in the future as a primary care provider in a rural area. But by her third year, those plans were derailed by a surgery rotation. 

"I loved the fast pace of surgery and having a clear goal in mind for each patient," she explained. "I played sports most of my life and it felt like being on a sports team again, which I realized I had missed throughout medical school thus far."

Looking ahead, Shalyn continues, "I am applying to general surgery and keeping an open mind regarding a specialty within the field. As far as my future focus in practice I don't particularly see myself participating in much research, though do enjoy teaching. Ideally, I would like to be able to serve a more rural population and hopefully live near some mountains."


Learn more about Commencement for Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and Mayo Clinic Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.