Braede Wilcox is on a mission. From a young age, she knew she wanted to contribute to the world by helping others in a hands-on way. This desire shaped her academic career and will continue to guide her life’s journey when she graduates from Colorado State University with a degree in biomedical sciences as a University Honors scholar this May.
Wilcox grew up in Colorado Springs perfecting the piano with her musically talented dogs, who would sing along when she practiced for recitals. She came to CSU planning to pursue music therapy.
“I realized that, for me, it wasn’t a tangible enough way to work with people,” Wilcox said. She decided her true calling was to practice medicine and switched her major to biology. She went on to change her major twice more, from biochemistry to biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sceince. She’s now set her sights on medical school and her ultimate goal of becoming a family medicine physician in the Pacific Northwest.
Throughout her time at CSU, Wilcox worked as a resident assistant and a community coordinator at the International House. She also provided homecare for a man with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) for two years until his death, and currently works as a nurse’s aide at Poudre Valley Hospital’s neurology unit. “Working at PVH allowed me to apply what I was learning at CSU and showed me that my studies are paying off,” she said.
For her Honors thesis, Wilcox researched physician burnout rates, ethics, and health-care reform issues. “I wanted to try and get a holistic understanding of what I’m walking into,” she said.
Wilcox also served as a member and president of the Student Health Advisory Council and moved the organization to collaboration with the new CSU Health and Medical Center.
“While Braede’s resume is mind-boggling, what I have found remarkable about this young woman is her ability to be present and authentic in her interactions, to deeply care for others, to do each job in front of her with commitment and purpose, and to engage life with vitality and humor,” said Anne Hudgens, executive director of the Colorado State University Health Network. “I fully believe that Braede is destined for greatness and I will be honored to say ‘I knew her when she was a student.’”
After graduation, Wilcox plans to take a gap year in order to apply to medical schools and engage in meaningful voluntourism, including in Guatemala where she’ll work with nonprofits focused on improving women’s health. “I don’t travel well without a purpose,” she said. “And while I’m looking forward to spending some time solidifying my future plans, I’m also excited for the unknown.”