Senior Daniel Kutuzov discovered a calling to pursue a health care career while he was enlisted in the Army, and the last three years at Carolina have prepared him to pursue medical school.
His path to Carolina began when he was 18 years old and looking for direction and purpose.
“When I graduated high school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, and I wasn’t necessarily happy with who I was as a person,” Kutuzov says. “I decided to join the Army, and I left my home in Fairlawn, New Jersey, and was stationed at Fort Bragg in North Carolina.”
At Fort Bragg, he was trained as a medic and worked in the combat support hospital but felt a growing sense that he could be doing more for the patients he encountered. He earned his paramedic certification and was assigned as a critical care paramedic with the 805th Military Police Company. That role allowed him to work more directly with his patients and learn what aspects of medicine he enjoyed.
“I liked the sense of self-improvement from growing in my career and advancing my medical knowledge, which prompted me to look into higher education after I finished my time with the Army,” Kutuzov says. “I was exposed to several fields of medicine and decided that I wanted to become a doctor to continue helping people even after I left the service.”
Kutuzov learned about Carolina when he was stationed at Fort Bragg and wanted to apply because of its reputation as a top-tier public university and medical school.
“I wanted to attend a high-ranking public school,” Kutuzov says. “Being stationed in North Carolina, you hear about how great the academics are at Chapel Hill. I thought it was a slight chance that I would get to attend, but I’ve been here for three years and become very involved on campus.”
During his time at Chapel Hill, Kutuzov joined the Carolina Student Veterans of America, an organization that provides veteran and military-affiliated students with resources, opportunities and support while serving the community, and became president of the organization.
Through the student group, he’s been organizing service opportunities like Coffee with a Vet, where members sit in the Pit with refreshments and discuss their experiences with fellow students, and Ruck for Hunger, when student-veterans place canned food donation bins around campus and then march together to collect the donations in their rucksacks for Carolina Cupboard.
Kutuzov says that helping others has become the central lesson of his time in the Army and at Carolina.
“My time working in a service organization like Carolina Student Veterans of America and biology studies strengthened my drive to apply to medical school and go into a career that serves others,” Kutuzov says.
After graduation this December, Kutuzov plans to take the MCAT, tour medical schools and work as a research specialist at the UNC School of Medicine’s psychiatry department. Kutuzov is still determining what medical specialty he wants to pursue in medical school, but psychiatry is a special interest he developed during his service and a way to continue to support veterans.
“Psychiatry is a lacking resource in the military, and there’s a mental health crisis happening in the armed forces and across the country among civilians,” Kutuzov says. “I’d like to be a part of that solution one day and help veterans who are struggling.”