Skyler Trieu, Class of 2022

Each story is unique, intimate, and powerful. Readers, please come open-minded and ready to engage with the following stories. More importantly, be ready to interface with an intimate space and allow yourself to step inside someone else’s life. The following is the narrative of Skyler Trieu, a second-year medical student at KUMC.


Can you give me a one-minute summary of your life? 

I was born here at the KU hospital and grew up in Overland Park. I have a family I love very much. It’s just me and one brother and my parents put together. I graduated from Blue Valley High and after that went to college in Colorado, just to get out and live somewhere other than Kansas for a while. I majored in molecular biology and Spanish and got a minor in biochem. After college, I came back to KC and taught chemistry and Spanish for Teach For America and later did cytogenetics lab work at KU hospital before getting into the post-bacc program. After post-bacc came pre-matric and now, here I am.

If you could choose one word to describe yourself, what would it be and why?

There’s a word in Spanish called andariego, which roughly translates to fond of walking, restless, inclined to travel. I’ve got a restless soul, and I’d love to see the world.

What do you do in your free time?

I like cooking, ultimate frisbee, hiking, running, cycling. It’s pretty nerdy, but I love learning new words in Spanish. I’m always on the lookout for a word or phrase that I don’t know. Vietnamese is also a personal project. It’s much harder than Spanish because it’s a tonal language. I also like to try new things; I’d do almost anything at least once just to see if I like it or not. I’m trying to get into photography. Dr. Kennedy kind of inspired me. I am not very good at it yet. One day, one bite at a time.

What are you passionate about?

People, languages, food.

What is something most people don’t know about you?

Most people don’t know that I can ride a unicycle. In undergrad, I’d ride my unicycle around to class. That was how I got around.

What inspires you?

Lots of people. Not just medical figures, but the people that you meet in life who are continuing on despite incredibly difficult circumstances, or people who are just really generous all the time, or people who always have a positive outlook. I see people around me and think, “Wow, I like that character trait. I want to emulate that.” So I would say people — the people we meet.

What is your journey into medicine?

This is supposedly the wrong answer during med school interviews, but the honest truth is that I’ve always been a people-person and also like science. Medicine seemed only natural. I’ve wanted to be a doctor since childhood and unfortunately don’t have a cool epiphany story to tell; I’ve just always kind of known that this is what my calling is.

What are your future hopes in medicine?

I want to make an impact using what I can bring to the table. I speak Spanish and want to use that someday to help bridge the language gap with patients. I also hope to be able to pay forward the generosity of all the people who helped me get here, like the ODI, physicians I’ve shadowed, older medical students, former teachers and mentors. Other than that, it’s an open road.

Each story is unique, intimate, and powerful. Readers, please come open-minded and ready to engage with the following stories. More importantly, be ready to interphase with an intimate space and allow yourself to step inside someone else’s life. The following is the narrative of Skyler Trieu, a second-year medical student at KUMC.

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