Cody Fretwell found the BioHealth Sciences (BHS) major by accident. “I signed up for the biology major during orientation, but when it came time to register for classes, I somehow ended up with all the BHS kids,” he said.
At that point, his career goal was to become a physician’s assistant (PA), and he saw that BHS had the Pre-PA academic option. This option is designed to meet most or all of the requirements for admission to PA programs across the U.S. and includes the opportunity to interact with medical and industry professionals to gain hands-on experience and skills and to explore potential career paths through job shadowing.
Fretwell decided to switch majors from biology to biohealth sciences with the pre-PA option. Four years later, Fretwell is happy with his decision. “I’ve enjoyed a lot of the classes specific to my major, focusing more on the human aspects of biology.”
While BHS gave him a great foundation for a career in healthcare, Fretwell decided to drop the Pre-PA option in the fall of his junior year when he discovered a greater career dream: medical device sales.
A foundational commitment to healthcare
Early on, a significant event in his family put Fretwell on the path to healthcare. When he was going into 8th grade, Fretwell’s twin sister was struck by a car while walking on a sidewalk with a friend. She was life-flighted [airlifted] to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital (OHSU) for emergency brain surgery. Hardworking medical professionals saved her life and changed Fretwell’s, too.
“She had to get a part of her skull removed to help with the swelling,” he said. “When they put it back on, they added a metal plate. A family friend of ours in the room at the time actually worked for the company that sells that metal plate.”
Although it would be a few years before Fretwell considered medical device sales as a career, his commitment to healthcare was solidified in that moment.
“Learning how my sister’s brain worked, how the surgery would affect her long and short term, and what we could do to help her recover best, it sparked something in me,” he said. “The neurosurgeons in the ICU and the rehabilitation people were all so intelligent and kind. I aspired to be like them.”
Thanks to their hard work and the support of her family, Fretwell’s twin sister made an amazing recovery and graduated from college this spring. “If you looked at her or talked to her, you would have no clue it ever happened,” he said.