Mikaila Calcagni’s career path is led by strong convictions. From a very young age, she has always wanted to be a physician.
“I don’t ever remember wanting to be anything else,” she said.
When Calcagni sets her mind to do something, she not only does it but does it very well. A Bentonville native, Calcagni graduated summa cum laude from the University of Arkansas in 2014 with a biology degree. She then attended four years of medical school at UAMS and graduated as the top student in clinical skills among 174 in her class. She was also honored for maintaining a 4.0 GPA throughout the four-year term.
Her education was partially backed by scholarship money earned through the Miss America Organization. Calcagni represented Northwest Arkansas three times in the Miss Arkansas pageant, most recently in 2014.
Calcagni is now working her way through 80-hour work weeks, wrapping up the first year of a three-year internal medicine residency at UAMS. When she completes the program in 2021, she has no plans to leave the region.
“I was born and raised [in Northwest Arkansas], and I can never imagine leaving here,” she said. “I want to be a physician right here.”
And by here, that means UAMS. Calcagni is interested in a career in academic medicine, with an ultimate career goal of becoming dean of the UAMS College of Medicine.
Calcagni is involved in numerous projects in the internal medicine residency program, which was established in 2015. She was influential in organizing a resident review process for this year’s residency applicants, including conducting interviews and hospital tours. The result was a document from Calcagni and her classmates outlining their impressions of the applicants and how well they thought each would fit into the program.
Dr. Thomas Schulz, director of the internal medicine residency program, said that’s been a critical point in recruiting from a team-building standpoint.
Schulz said Calcagni also volunteers to tutor medical students, both individually and in lecture settings.
Calcagni enjoys cooking. She is also learning to raise cattle, a byproduct of her husband’s upbringing on a farm. That hobby has intersected with her career. During her third year of medical school, she delivered her first human baby and her first calf — in the same week.
Calcagni and her husband are expecting their first child in October.