Brianna Lewis was voted “most likely to become a brain surgeon” in the first grade and the Simpsonville native will soon begin earning the “Dr.” portion of that prediction. She’s headed to medical school this fall after wrapping up two bachelor’s degrees from the University of South Carolina, one in biology and another in experimental psychology.
Lewis, who was also part of the nation’s top-rated South Carolina Honors College, admits she has a habit of taking on a lot. In her four years at South Carolina, she played rugby, competed in the Miss Gamecock pageant and completed a minor in Spanish and a cognate in chemistry.
“I feel like everything the school has to offer has always been 100% top tier and I wouldn’t change my experience for the world,” Lewis said.
The National Merit Finalist grew up a Clemson fan, but attending her first South Carolina football game as a freshman quickly converted her to garnet and black. She learned the fight song and other Carolina traditions that day, “it was just that moment of realizing that Carolina is a family — I literally almost cried,” she said.
Freshman year wasn’t all fun and games, though. Lewis struggled at first to adjust to the rigors of college-level work. “It smacked me,” she said. “Freshman year I had like a 2.5 GPA, and I was doing a lot of damage control to keep my scholarship.”
She committed more time to studying and along the way made friends with other pre-med and health science majors.
“It’s just been a process academically of figuring out what works for me so I can study and get to my goals,” she said.
In addition to beginning medical school, Lewis hopes to earn a medical interpreter certification in Spanish. It’s a goal that would mesh well with becoming an emergency medicine physician.
“That’s something that’s really needed — we have a large Spanish-speaking population in South Carolina, so I feel like being a doctor who speaks Spanish, especially in a fast-paced situation like an emergency room, would definitely be useful and be the intersection of everything I want to do,” Lewis said.