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Tulane Class of 2023: Chance conversation inspires a career in medicine

May 17, 2023 4:30 PM
Carolyn Scofield scofield@tulane.edu

After earning a Master of Science in the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, Mashli Fleurestil stayed at Tulane University School of Medicine to become a physician. She graduates this Saturday.


A chance encounter at her neighborhood library brought Mashli Fleurestil from Pembroke Pines, Florida to New Orleans. Fleurestil was hours late for a GRE study session when she struck up a conversation with someone who had just graduated with a Master of Science in Pharmacology from the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program at Tulane University School of Medicine. That serendipitous meeting began Fleurestil’s journey to become a physician.

“I knew leaving undergrad that I was going to have to prove that I could handle graduate level coursework,” Fleurestil said. “I joined the Tulane family by way of the pharmacology department and never looked back. I found my home — a place where people cared more about who I was than my numbers. I was somebody with a story who could touch people’s lives because I care. People knew my name here, and I just loved the fact that I was valued.”

After earning her Master of Science degree, Fleurestil stayed at Tulane for medical school. She’s one of 175 Tulane medical students in the Class of 2023 who will earn their diplomas this Saturday.

Fleurestil then heads home for residency. She matched with her top choice — internal medicine at University of Miami/Jackson Health System.

“Internal medicine is so unique,” Fleurestil said. “We get to be detectives. When someone comes in with chest pain, it could be pain from coronary disease; or it could be pain that’s musculoskeletal, because they’re carrying heavy loads. But then this could be chest pain because their body has kept score of the trauma that they’ve lived through their whole lives, and it’s up to us to listen to them and come up with an answer of what we think might be going on.”

Fleurestil often participated in community outreach while at Tulane, volunteering in the School of Medicine’s student-run clinics and working with Keith C. Ferdinand, MD, the Gerald S. Berenson Chair in Preventative Cardiology, to provide community health education. She’s excited to bring that community outreach home with her to Miami.

New Orleans now feels like home too.

“There has not been a single moment when I’ve felt alone since I moved to New Orleans and joined the Tulane family,” Fleurestil said. “My classmates are like siblings now, and I will hold them dear and treasure them for the rest of my life. And my professors have been the greatest mentors and support system. I’m so sad to leave, but I’m also excited to take our heartbeat, to take the culture that we have here at Tulane, wherever I go.”