Class of 2012: Christian Kakowski

Christian Kakowski - Medical Student (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Center Photo)
Christian Kakowski - Medical Student (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Center Photo)

As the University counts down to Commencement, UConn Today is featuring some of this year’s outstanding graduating students, nominated by their academic school or college or another University program in which they participated. For additional profiles of students in the Class of 2012, click here.

Christian Kakowski
Christian Kakowski '12 MD, the medical student commencement speaker, has traveled the world but is happy to be home. (Janine Gelineau/UConn Health Center Photo)

Christian Kakowski ’12 MD has traveled all around the world, but landed right back in Connecticut where he started.

The Bethlehem native went to UConn for his undergraduate degree in humanities, but took three years off after to college to travel around the United States, Canada, Europe and India.

While living in India and working at a clinic for Tibetan Refugees in the Himalayan Mountains, Kakowski made an important life decision – he decided to go into medicine.

“Due to some life events and losing a close friend, I decided I wanted to serve in some way,” says Kakowski. “I wanted to be able to have an impact on people’s lives, even if it was minute at times. I wanted to live a life of service.”

Kakowski did a postbaccalaureate program at Bennington College in Vermont, where he and eight other students completed all their pre-med requirements in one year’s time.

“I was thrown into the sciences; it was sink or swim,” says Kakowski, who didn’t take any science courses in college.

After the post-bac program, Kakowski returned to Connecticut and enrolled at UConn’s School of Medicine.

Kakowski likes being close to family, his slow-pitch softball team, and to his fiancée Meghan Slemmens, who is just completing her residency at Saint Francis Hospital.

“I’ve traveled all over the country, all over the world, but New England has strong roots,” he says. “I love its quiet, untouched, rural appeal and the beautiful New England scenes. That’s a big thing for me.”

Kakowski will do his residency in emergency medicine at the Health Center and Hartford Hospital, surrounded by people he says he can easily relate to.

“The faculty was a huge factor when I made my decision. UConn has a great reputation in emergency medicine,” he says. “I like emergency medicine because it’s high acuity. You’re the first doctor to see a sick patient. I like the pace, the diagnosis process; you treat every type of patient.”

Follow the UConn Health Center on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.