USC alum preps for career as plastic surgeon

Published Mar 6, 2013 at 11:24 am (Updated Mar 6, 2013 at 11:24 am)

Athena Castro, a senior at Washington & Jefferson College and a 2009 graduate of Upper St. Clair High School, knows her eventual goal is to be a plastic surgeon. While many college seniors spent the recent intersession enjoying a break from classes, Castro, 21, interned at Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School from Jan. 2-Feb. 10.

“W&J prepared me very well,” Castro, an Alpha Scholar, said of the rigorous experience.

She remains committed to pursuing a career in plastic surgery.

“You have to be very creative. I almost pursued an art major at W&J. (Plastic surgery) requires a lot of talent and you have to have an eye for it, be very precise and very intricate,” she said, adding plastic surgeons are often referred to as “surgeon’s surgeons.” And while some believe plastic surgery is mainly face lifts and breast implants, Castro said about 80 percent of the procedures are reconstruction.

During her internship at Harvard, Castro said she arrived daily at 5 a.m. with the surgeons, even through she was not required to do so.

“They are able to see you’re very interested. They saw me there every day at 5 and knew I was dedicated and wanted to learn,” Castro said. “They knew I didn’t know anything, but they saw I was so interested, and they wanted to show me and they wanted to teach me.”

The experience solidified her goal to study medicine for the next four to eight years. She will graduate from W&J in May, but is not releasing where she may attend medical school other than to say, “I plan to pursue a career in medicine.”

Castro is the daughter of William, a radiologist at Washington Hospital, and Sandra Castro of Upper St. Clair.

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