Kaitlyn Samuels, MD, is a recent graduate and now a first-year plastic surgery resident at the University of Kentucky College of Medicine. She also earned her Bachelor of Science at UK. In the following Q&A, she shares how her mom is her inspiration, not only in her career but also in her interest outside of work – which, in “traditional Kentucky fashion,” is riding horses.

Q: Why did you choose plastic surgery?

A: I chose plastic surgery because I love the breadth of the specialty and the differences you can make in patients’ lives. Plastic surgeons get to operate all over the body between aesthetic surgery, craniofacial, hand, reconstruction, microsurgery, and more; and I love the vast variety in the field.

Q: What are you looking forward to as you enter your UK residency program this summer?

A: I am looking forward to starting the next step in becoming a plastic surgeon and furthering my education so I can be a well-rounded physician even outside of plastic surgery.

I am excited to continue serving the patients of our community in Kentucky that I call home and meeting many new colleagues and friends along the way.

Q: What inspired you to become a doctor? 

A: My mom played a large role in inspiring me to become a doctor. She is a plastic surgeon herself and has her own private practice. Growing up, I was able to see her work, run a business, and see firsthand just how much she was able to help her patients and make them happy.

Having her as a role model demonstrated how fulfilling a career in medicine can be, and I wanted to pursue that and contribute to bettering patients’ lives too.

Q: What are your career goals?

A: I want to be an excellent plastic surgeon who can make a positive impact in as many people’s lives as possible. As far as what kind of plastic surgery I will end up practicing, I am not sure yet. I’ve discovered that I love every aspect of plastic surgery I have experienced thus far, so I am excited to learn more about and develop my career goals as I progress through residency.

Q: When you are not in the hospital, what do you enjoy in your free time?

A: In traditional Kentucky fashion, I have been riding horses my entire life. My mom rode horses growing up, and when she finished her residency and moved back to Kentucky to start her practice, she got a horse named Kona. He was the first horse I ever rode, and I spent most of my childhood learning how to ride on. My mom said she put my twin sister and me on Kona as babies “once we could hold our own heads up.”

I started taking more formal riding lessons and beginning to compete in the sport of three-day eventing when I was five years old, and I got my first horse, named Buck when I was 11 years old. I got Simon (pictured below) about six years ago. He is an Irish sport horse and my upper-level eventing horse.

In the photo, we are at a beach outside of Ocala, Fla., where we spent a winter competing and preparing for some CCI2**-level events in the spring of my gap year between college and medical school. We took a day trip to go riding on the beach one day when we were down there.

Kaitlyn Samuels riding a horse on the beach