Grand Blanc, MI
Bachelor of Science in Human Biology, Michigan State University
“ The more responsibility I was given throughout my career, from volunteer to nursing assistant to perfusion assistant, the more I wanted to keep discovering my passion and helping others. ”Casi Hudak
Cardiovascular Science/Perfusion Program, College of Health Sciences, Glendale, Class of 2024
What inspired you to pursue a healthcare career?
I have always wanted to help people and was interested in anatomy from a young age, so I decided that medicine was a great way to give to others and explore my interests. Once I started volunteering at Hurley Children’s Hospital in Flint, Michigan, I discovered how much I loved being in a hospital setting and caring for patients. The more responsibility I was given throughout my career, from volunteer to nursing assistant to perfusion assistant, the more I wanted to keep discovering my passion and helping others.
How did your background and history factor into your career choice?
I am the first person in my family to go into healthcare and the first in my immediate family to go to graduate school, although growing up in an automotive family surprisingly didn’t pull me away from healthcare at all. I like to think that I acquired my compassion and empathy from both of my parents which subconsciously pushed me to go into healthcare. I thought I wanted to be a doctor for the longest time but couldn’t figure out a specialty that interested me enough or felt like the right one. The closer I got to applying, the more I realized that maybe medical school wasn’t right for me, so I decided to look at other options. I knew I wanted to do something different than some of the usual alternatives to being a physician, and one night I stumbled on a career website that had “Cardiovascular Perfusionist” on it. I had never heard of this profession, so I started doing research since the short description piqued my interest. Once I learned as much online as I could, I decided to talk to a perfusionist at McLaren Greater Lansing where I worked, and see if I could come in to shadow. The first surgery I saw made me incredibly overwhelmed as I took it all in, but it was so exciting and interesting and I knew I had to come back. I shadowed the perfusion team for over a year, learning and picking their brains about programs, and once I started applying I received encouragement and support from them in my newfound passion.
Why did you decide to attend Midwestern University?
I hadn’t heard of Midwestern until I found perfusion and recognized it as having one of the few perfusion programs in the country. I did my research on the University as well as the program and found a surplus of great things to be said from current students, alumni, and the Internet. I also talked to a perfusionist who had gone through the Cardiovascular Science Program; he gave me all kinds of details and advice when I was applying, and I still consider him a resource and friend in perfusion today. I was also told by the chief perfusionist I worked with that Midwestern students are extremely prepared for the job and that the University has a great reputation. I ultimately felt that it was the right place for me and that I could learn everything I needed and more to make me the best perfusionist I could be.
What about a Midwestern University education do you want to carry forward in your career?
I plan to carry the hands-on training from our labs with me since these skills are what I will forever use in my career. I also hope to carry the friendships and knowledge I’ve built on campus throughout my career since perfusion is a small community. The relationships I’ve built with faculty are also something I want to cherish and continue as I update them on my career, as well as share new techniques being used in the field so they can teach them to future classes and better prepare the next perfusionists as they are released into the operating rooms.
Casi Hudak is a Class of 2024 student in the Cardiovascular Science/Perfusion Program at the College of Health Sciences on the Glendale Campus.