The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Honors Alum Graduates Early from Medical School to Fight Coronavirus

UMass Students Kendra Lastowka and Taylor Shortsleeve on the Today Show

As doctors across the country prepare to counter the coronavirus, some UMass medical students are choosing to graduate early in order to contribute to that fight. One such student is Commonwealth Honors College's Kendra Lastowka, who was featured on April 1, alongside fellow UMass student Taylor Shortsleeve on NBC's Today show.

Today reporter Al Roker interviewed the two students on their decision to graduate early. 

TODAY’s Al Roker speaks with inspiring medical students Kendra Lastowka and Taylor Shortsleeve, who are graduating early from medical school in order to join the fight against coronavirus.

"At the end of last week, we heard that NYU Medical School had been thinking of graduating their students early. At that point, us here at UMass thought we might be the next to have this opportunity," Lastowka explained. "I know that Taylor and I, as well as a lot of our other medical school classmates, have been reflecting on what a lot of our mentors have said, and one of our biggest mentors, Chancellor Collins, has always told us that it's not a privilege for a patient to see a doctor, but for a doctor to care for a patient."