Samuel Florentino standing outside of his medical school

Neuroscience, Religious Studies Help Alum Navigate Increasingly Diverse Field

Created: March 17, 2021  |  Last Updated: March 17, 2021  |  Category:   |  Tagged: ,

WASHINGTON, PA (March 17, 2021) – Samuel Florentino ’18 always knew he wanted to be a doctor. At Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), he was able to pursue that dream, supplementing his traditional science and lab courses with a field of study that speaks to a different side of working with the public.

The former neuroscience major also minored in religious studies and said the background has helped him at the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry, where he is currently studying for a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) with aspirations to become an orthopaedic surgeon.

“I truly enjoyed religious studies for a multitude of reasons, including the professors, and my personal relationship with religion. I believe that the courses provided me with an opportunity to develop a deep understanding of the diverse beliefs and rituals in our world,” he said.

Florentino’s Religion and Social Justice course helped him gain the skills to understand the influence of religion and spirituality on figures like Martin Luther King, Jr. and Ghandi who have driven change for a more just world. His ability to understand a world of increasing spiritual and philosophical diversity has continued to develop as he pursues his medical career, complimenting the knowledge of the human body and the emotional intelligence that work in medical fields requires.

“Most physicians will have tens of thousands of patient interactions in their career, and in a world of increasing spiritual and philosophical diversity, having spiritual intelligence is of the utmost importance in order to provide high-quality, patient-centered care,” he said.

When he’s not studying or conducting research, Florentino volunteers for UR Well, a student-run clinic that provides health care services to underserved and uninsured adults. He plans to continue to volunteer and conduct research throughout his education and career. He enjoys volunteering because it allows him to pay it forward in his local community, and said research is also important to him because it contributes to the scientific community and to medical professionals’ ability to provide high-quality and evidence-based patient care.

He’s happy to have found a strong base for his career at W&J.

“I am grateful to the Religious Studies department at W&J for helping me to develop the skills and foundation to successfully navigate through our diverse world,” he said.


About Washington & Jefferson College

Washington & Jefferson College, proudly located in Washington, Pa., is a historic liberal arts college founded in 1781 that values ethical leadership, professional readiness, and inclusive communities. Our highly customized and intellectually engaging student experience develops professionals of uncommon integrity to lead in an ever-changing world. For more information about W&J, visit, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.