October 29, 2013

A Great Example: Allie Ariniello

Allie Ariniello knows what she is and what she wants to be. She is a member of the UC Santa Barbara women’s soccer team and she wants to become a medical doctor.

Allie is not only a student and NCAA Division I soccer player but she also aspires to one day add an “M.D.” to her nameplate. In fact, when she is not at school or soccer, she is at the hospital.

To get a leg-up in her pursuit of a medical career, Allie, a cell development biology major, has spent time interning at various hospitals in the area. She has spent the majority of her time at the St. John’s Regional Hospital in Oxnard, Calif., a short drive south from Santa Barbara. At the hospital, she enrolled in a program that allowed her to cycle through different medical units every three or four months.
“You graduate from medical services to a rehab unit to the ER to labor and delivery to the surgical unit,” Allie said.
 
The labor and delivery department was a particular favorite.
“The labor and delivery department is such a happy unit,” she said. “You get to see another life happen right before your eyes. Also, everyone works as a team.”
 
Over a two-year period, Allie has consistently made the drive to Oxnard for an eight-hour shift, having to plan around a busy school and soccer schedule. Even during the season, she has continued to work and volunteer her time to the program. While she has had to manage her time carefully, creating to-do lists and then following through, she loves “the stressful life” and, in fact, she is more successful in-season because she is busier and simply works harder to stay on top of her hectic schedule.
 
“We never know exactly what Allie is doing, where she is or how she can manage to do all the things she does,” said teammate and roommate Miranda Cornejo.
 
Allie first became interested in becoming a doctor in high school. She has always loved science, especially anatomy. She is fascinated with learning about the biological processes occurring in our bodies. To her, it has always made sense and has been interesting.
 
“It’s a lot of work but it is cool to know what is going on in my body,” she said.”
 
The Carlsbad, Calif. native wants to use her love for learning to benefit others and genuinely wants to help people, just like her main inspiration for becoming a doctor, her older sister Lauren. Allie said that her sister is constantly giving her advice like ‘get to know your teachers’ and ‘get experience to boost your resume.’”
 
Lauren went to UCLA and is also an aspiring doctor. She is currently doing research in a genomics lab in San Diego where Allie interned last summer while her sister was away in Thailand.
 
While she has always wanted to be a doctor, Allie has yet to choose a specific field. What she does know is that she wants to have her own practice, have good relations with her patients and make a difference in their lives. She will graduate from UCSB in June and then start the process of applying for medical school.
 
“That application process takes a year to finish,” she said. “I want to do research or have a job in biology or the medical industry during that time. I want to have more experience out in the field before I go back to school.”
 
Allie has already taken the MCAT, scoring high enough to be considered at many medical schools.
 
In her fourth year as a soccer player at UCSB, Allie has enjoyed her greatest on-field success. She entered 2013 without a goal to her credit, but this year she is tied for the team-lead with five, along with three assists for a team-leading 13 points. She has also started every game.
 
“Allie is going to be very successful in life because of her willingness to give everything she has to the things she is most interested in; like academics, like friendships, like soccer,” said Gaucho head coach Paul Stumpf. “I didn’t know that she could give more than she had in the past but this year has been exceptional. Her work rate and work ethic in training and in games … she has almost run more miles than everyone else on the field. She has been the biggest and most pleasant surprise this year. Allie has been a big part of our wins this season. This has been by far her best year.”
 
She first came to UCSB in the summer of 2006 for a soccer camp, and fell completely in love with the school. As a beach-lover and science enthusiast and with medical school on her mind, Allie saw UCSB as the perfect place for her. Being from Southern California, the weather didn’t hurt either, and yet while she is close to home, she is far enough away to enjoy the college experience.
 
Allie has a very close relationship with everyone in her family.
 
“My parents are definitely very supportive but they never force me to do anything,” she said. “They are proud of my success and what I’ve accomplished but they have never pushed me to get good grades or play college soccer. They just love me for me."
 
Another love of Allie’s life is her dog, so when she is not scoring goals at Harder Stadium or trying to maintain something close to a 4.0 grade point average at UCSB, what might she be found doing? Talking to her dog on Skype.
 
“One thing we do know,” said another teammate and roommate Taylor Gehring, “is that any time you see her she will always have a smile on her face and she’ll never complain. You would never know that she had just been studying at the library for six hours after she had multiple classes, a two-hour practice and who knows what else.”
 
Allie has been exactly what the doctor ordered for a squad that has been vastly improved in 2013. With the same motivation and work ethic that has propelled her to success as a Gaucho, we should be seeing her in a white coat of her own in no time.