Hometown: Dacula, Georgia
Year in Med School: 2nd Year
Achievements / Awards:
- Medical Scholars Research Program Participant
- Medical Partnership Family Medicine/OB-GYN Interest Group Co-President
- Medical Partnership Student Government Organization Social Chair
- MCG Student Ambassador
Please tell us a little about yourself. Feel free to discuss your academic and professional background, your hobbies, family background, etc.
Although I have lived in Dacula since I was 10, my family is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. The NOLA culture has always been a big part of my life, so after graduating from the University of Georgia with a B.S. in Biology in 2016, I returned to my roots and completed a M.S. in Cell & Molecular Biology at Tulane University in 2017. I returned to the Atlanta area the following year to work at an IVF and fertility clinic while applying to medical school. I am grateful for my time spent after undergrad, and I am an advocate for taking time off before applying to medical school to branch out and explore.
In my free time, I love to bake. My father is an amazing amateur baker, and one of our favorite pastimes is to watch an episode of the Great British Baking Show and then try to recreate recipes from the show. Luckily, I still live close to my parents, so I can visit often.
What is a typical day for you like?
In the mornings, we have small group learning sessions where 8 students are grouped with an MD and PhD faculty member. Each week, we are given a simulated case that slowly unfolds as the week progresses. The case is related to the week’s topic, which we learn more about in large group lectures later in the morning.
In the afternoons, we have different tasks depending on the day. We may visit a partner site in the area for our Community Health course, where we learn about population health and work on a project to better the community. We may practice our clinical skills by working with simulated patients on our campus or interviewing patients in the local hospital. Other afternoons are spent at student interest group meetings or for study sessions with friends.
On the weekends, I try to relax as much as I can. I love to visit the Athens Farmer’s Market on Saturday mornings at Bishop Park, which is close to campus. I also enjoy hanging out with friends and exploring new restaurants. The great thing about Athens is that there is always something to do!
What is something people may be surprised to know about you?
I participated in and won a local pageant in high school. I was very much the nerd stereotype in high school, so the experience was definitely out of my comfort zone. I think that the first thing people think of when the word pageant comes up is gowns and swimsuits. It was actually quite different! There was a big focus on the interview and there was no swimsuit portion. I learned valuable skills about professionalism and projecting confidence under pressure along with making several new friends.
What do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?
Getting into MCG was by far my greatest accomplishment. I vividly remember the day I saw the acceptance email and frantically called my parents to tell them the news. It was a moment built up from many sacrifices, sleepless nights, some tears, but also many happy memories of preparing for my life’s passion.
What advice do you have for students just starting their journey in Medicine?
Having a solid support system is crucial. The friends I’ve made in school are absolutely my second family, and I would have not made it through my first year without them. Remember that you are not alone in this! Your classmates are going through the same process and they need you as much as you need them for support and motivation. Be there for each other!
What motivated you to want to be a physician?
My mother’s journey is my inspiration towards a career in medicine. When I was 7 years old, my mother was in graduate school to become a nurse practitioner. I remember watching my mother study at the kitchen table while also cooking dinner, pulling double duty as a mother and full-time student. I enjoyed seeing pictures of gruesome skin diseases or how to pronounce the long pharmaceutical drug names while testing my mother on her flash cards. I was so proud to read my children’s encyclopedia of the human body next to her at the table, pretending it was another one of her graduate school textbooks. Even since, I’ve always enjoyed school science fairs, and eventually, volunteering in hospitals, so I knew this was the path for me.
What do you hope to do after completing med school?
Residency is the next big goal! I am currently very interested in pursuing OB-GYN as a future specialty. From there, I would consider working in a fertility clinic, or returning to an academic setting to teach future medical students. I would prefer to stay in the south to practice medicine and eventually raise a family.
Who are your role models?
My parents are my role models. They have always been a source of support for pursuing my goals, as well as guidance when things get tough. They both have had long and successful careers, but they also made a point to put family first. Despite whatever life throws at them, they stay strong and keep pushing forward.
Why did you choose the Medical College of Georgia’s AU/UGA Medical Partnership Campus?
One of the biggest draws for me was the emphasis on small-group learning, which is obtainable through our small class size on this campus. I find that I am able to learn and retain much more information when discussing concepts and learning in smaller groups. Often the goal is to work together to draw conclusions rather than being given an answer outright. This skill is important to develop for later use in a clinic setting when working with the healthcare team to solve a patient’s problems.
I also enjoy having closer bonds to our faculty. Everyone on campus knows who I am and genuinely cares about how I am doing. Not only do the professors have an open-door policy for stopping by to ask questions outside of class, but many of them also spend time with us in the community through volunteering and during social events, such as an end of year cookout.
The smaller class size and close relationships with our faculty make the Medical Partnership Campus feel like home, and I could not have been happier to spend my first year of medical school at this campus.
What has been your favorite or most powerful experience in medical school?
This summer through the Medical Scholars Program, I was in Augusta working on a funded research project in the OB-GYN and Medical Illustration departments. As part of the program, I was able to shadow the OB-GYN residents at the local hospital in the labor and delivery department. The reproduction portion of our first-year curriculum was by far my favorite, so I was excited for the opportunity to shadow and see what I learned in action. I saw my first ever live birth and I was mesmerized. Seeing the birth was phenomenal, but watching the reaction of the proud parents as they held their baby for the first time made the experience worthwhile. The hospital team made the whole experience seem effortless, showing just how amazing modern medicine can be for an important experience like the birth of a child.
What has surprised you the most, or what would you like people to know about MCG?
The MCG alumni network is huge, and everyone that I have met loved their experience and wants to give back to the school. We have physicians that went to MCG who visit to give guest lectures. Several alumni have returned to practice in the area and help us learn clinical skills or work with us at our local free clinic. The vast number of individuals who are willing to offer us guidance and support truly reflects the dedication that they have for our school and the great things that MCG has to offer future students.
What is your favorite thing to do at your campus? What is your favorite thing to do in Athens?
My favorite thing to do at my campus is sit on the porch of Winnie Davis Hall. There are several comfortable rocking chairs that offer a relaxing spot to sit and catch up with friends or have an outdoor study session.
My favorite thing to do in Athens is to visit downtown on the weekends. There is always a festival or concert going on, making each weekend a new experience. Whether it is dinner with friends or shopping with family, there is something for everyone. I especially enjoy visiting downtown after the Dawgs win a football game, as the whole town celebrates!