How the Trivium Prepared Me to Be a Physician Scientist

Josh Seaberg

The work of the physician and the scientist are each beautiful and challenging in their own ways. The physician utilizes treatments to alleviate suffering on a daily basis; the scientist lives at the edge of human knowledge to expand our breadth of understanding. While each profession requires a dedicated individual with a desire to serve, the training required for each is vastly different. In medical school, students are bombarded with the sum of current medical knowledge that they must grasp to properly form a differential diagnosis and plan for treatment. Conversely, PhD students must scour the literature to find scraps of information that hint at the next step forward in their project. These training approaches foster drastically different ways of thinking: medical students become rapid memorizers of drug lists and associated symptoms while PhD students are more apt to contemplate the “why” questions and communicate their answers to the scientific community.

The Trivium prepares pupils for both these endeavors. Like medical education, Grammar school emphasizes the memorization of facts necessary to knowing reality and interacting with it. Graduate studies parallel Logic school by understanding of the processes of reasoning while simultaneously matching the Rhetoric school emphasis on synthesizing and communicating ideas. As such, the three pillars of classical education—the Trivium—provide a foundation for those going into either the medical or the scientific field—or both.

Now in the midst of both MD and PhD training, I am reminded how Morning Star’s Trivium prepared me to be here. For some, the rapid pace of content consumption in medical school is overwhelming, whereas for others the lack of concrete answers and experimental troubleshooting in graduate school can be exhausting. But when you have a foundation in Grammar, Logic and Rhetoric and have learned how to learn, no area of work or study is beyond your capabilities. The Trivium is a firm foundation for the physician, the scientist, the engineer, and any career in between.

Josh Seaberg graduated from Morning Star Academy in 2014 and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from Oklahoma State University in 2018 and 2020 respectively. In 2020, Josh entered the MD/PhD program at the University of Oklahoma. Throughout undergraduate and graduate school he has authored 7 peer-reviewed scientific publications with a focus on materials science, nanotechnology, and drug delivery. In his free time he enjoys playing soccer and serving as music director for the Oklahoma City campus of People’s Church.

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