University of Pittsburgh

Student Profiles

Alejandro Morales, Class of 2016



ALMA MATER: University of Delaware


I know what you’re thinking, “Sweet mustache.” Well my flavor saver, soup strainer, lip rug, mouth brow, face caterpillar, cookie duster, booger broom, dirt squirrel would like to welcome you to Pitt Med!


Although I am a traditional student by the literal meaning, my journey into medicine has been anything but that. My parents emigrated from Colombia with nothing but the clothes on their back, and worked tirelessly to support me and my brother’s education. However, as a kid, I took that for granted. I was never one to care about school, only did what I had to do to get by, and even considered dropping out up until sophomore year of high school. That’s when I realized I was given the opportunity to do more with my life. I always knew I had an interest in science, which at that age, to me, meant becoming a doctor. I knew nothing about how to reach my goal let alone how to get into college as a first generation student. All I knew was it would be hard work.


After salvaging what I could of my GPA, I began volunteering as an EMT for my local ambulance squad. I fell in love with health care. Everything from the extremely grateful patients who could not stop saying, “thank you,” to the extremely rude patients who would yell at you because “you’re too young to know what you’re doing!” It was all part of the experience. While in college, I also started doing neuroscience research. I didn’t think I would like research, but it turned out to be one of the best experiences I have had. Being part of a group that creates knowledge is fascinating, and has made me appreciate the scientific process and knowledge we have now.


My previous experiences have led me up to this moment as I am finishing my first year here at Pitt Med. While you ultimately become a doctor at any medical school, Pitt Med has been everything I could have wanted. Because we are affiliated with such a large hospital system, we can see it all and learn from some of the best doctors in various fields of medicine. As a first year, I have already gotten the chance to be in the hospital and work with doctors who have taught me how to take histories, do physical exams, and take care of patients. I’ve also gotten the chance to shadow surgeons, who have all been very eager to help us medical students become familiar with life in the hospital.


Another thing that brought me here was Pitt Med’s power as a research institution. There is an endless amount of research that goes on here, and not just biomedical research but clinical, public health, medical education, and more. The best part is we all have access to it. I am currently doing research in treatments for the most malignant type of brain tumor, glioblastoma multiforme. All I had to do was set up a meeting with the investigator and the next thing you know I’m working on a project.


Besides the academic privileges we get at Pitt Med, my classmates and the rest of the student body are a great bunch of people. Not everything is about school, and we all make time to do things outside of studying. For example, I still have time during the weekdays to play basketball or go on runs. During the weekends, I’ve been hanging out with friends, going to various restaurants, bars, comedy shows, and more.


Coming from a humble background, I could have never anticipated the amount of progress I have made in my life. However, I am not done yet. As a first year, Pitt Med has already begun to help shape my personal growth and transition into medicine, and I am sure it will do the same for you.

Our Mission

The University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Mission Statement

The mission of the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine is to improve the health and well-being of individuals and populations through cutting-edge biomedical research, innovative educational programs in medicine and biomedical science, and leadership in academic medicine.