Alumni Spotlight

Rachel Lockard

Rachel Lockard

As an undergraduate student at UP, Rachel Lockard worked in neuroscience research with professor Dr. Elinor Sullivan, both at the Oregon National Primate Research Center and at OHSU. After graduation from UP in 2014, Rachel was focused on going into a neuroscience PhD program and got a job as a Research Assistant II at Casey Eye Institute in basic science research. Rachel notes that, “Dr. Mark Pitzer’s Sensation & Perception course helped so much”. Casey Eye also has a volunteer-run outreach van that travels throughout the state providing free ophthalmic services to under/uninsured Oregonians. This sparked Rachel’s interest in public health and she began an MPH at the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health.

On the side, Rachel also volunteered at Call to Safety (formerly Portland Women’s Crisis Line) and Outside In’s low-cost tattoo removal clinic. When Rachel realized her interest in clinical medicine, she got a CNA license and started working as a phlebotomist at Adventist Health. While in her MPH, Rachel began volunteering with Bridges Collaborative Care Clinic. Bridges is a student-run health clinic between OHSU, PSU, and OSU health profession programs. After two years of service, she was promoted to Board President of the clinic. After graduation from the MPH in Health Systems Management and Policy, Rachel matriculated into OHSU School of Medicine in 2019.  Rachel reinforces that she’s grateful for the 5 years post-grad before starting medical school.  We continue to wish her all the best on her journey to becoming another wonderful Pilot physician.


 1. Give a short description of your application process / tips for upcoming applicants.

Despite being a pre-med at UP,  I didn’t actually see myself going to medical school. Given that, I needed to take genetics and biochemistry post-bacc.  Since I had taken so much time before my application, I had a lot to write about in my application and had formed strong relationships with people who wrote my letters of recommendation. Taking the MCAT late meant that I had to reteach myself topics but it is just one of those things that is purely based in the hours you put in. I highly recommend Anki flashcard app for memorization and focusing >50% of your time on practice problems. In my interview, I was asked most commonly about my work with Call to Safety and Bridges. These were unique experiences that I was passionate about and could talk about for hours. I also shadowed PAs and NPs and highlighted that I explored other health profession programs and knew that MD was the path that I wanted to take. 


2. How did your time at UP help you with your career choice, application, etc.? 

Like I said earlier, I was able to get involved with research in a field I was interested in. My PI was an awesome and supportive woman-in-science and encouraged me to look at other options in the scientific field. I was also able to go to journal clubs at OHSU and meet other researchers and clinician-scientists. 


3. What are your favorite memories of UP / any highlights?

Hmmm...I loved the vertebrate biology field trip to Bend. Also, I am still friends with many of my former roommates and neighbors. My freshman year Shipstad roommate is still my best friend! I met my partner in Endocrinology and he is currently in medical school as well. 


4. What general advice would you give aspiring pre-health types?

Look at all options! I shadowed many different fields in healthcare and thoroughly explored research. Also, GPA and MCAT aren’t everything. I had a 3.4 GPA and made that up by getting a lot of experience in a variety of fields (health-related and not).