Degree/training: UNC- Asheville (Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry with a Minor in Neuroscience), VCOM (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine)

Career Aspiration: I aspire to become a Family Medicine Physician in a rural/underserved community.

Why did you choose your career path? I specifically chose osteopathic medicine because of the philosophy of patient care; patient is a unit of mind, body, and spirit. I believe that this is a unique approach to patient care that not only attempts to address poor health but also recognizes and acknowledges social components to the overall disease state. For example, is my patient non-compliant with their medication or are they having trouble paying for it, does my patient have access to nutritious food, or safe housing, etc. My hope is that I can take my medical education and become a physician who not only treats disease but assists my patients on their overall journey of wellbeing. I hope to serve as an educator, advocate, and confidant in my role both as student doctor and future physician.

Where did you hear about a health career path and how did you enter this path? My biggest inspiration in choosing this career path was my own family physician growing up. He shaped my relationship with my own health and I recognized the impact that I too could have on peoples life through this career. I entered this career path by doing things I loved. Going into undergrad, I knew I loved chemistry and decided to pursue that as my degree. It was in this program I was presented with the opportunity to complete several research projects which ranged from physical chemistry to medically focused biochemistry. I shadowed physicians, completed an internship, and spent my gap year working as a front office representative at an underserved clinic. All of these things allowed me to find my niche of interest in medicine and truly have inspiration as to what would fuel my career interests.

What advice would you give those who are guiding students into health careers? My advice would be to make sure students are aware that there are careers outside of nursing, advanced practice providers, and physicians in health care. There is such a wide variety of opportunities to make an impact in the medical field and it doesn’t have to be in the “traditional” sense. Not every career is for everybody and that is okay, there are plenty of avenues to make a meaningful mark! Another piece of possibly more practical advice is to have resources available to students about average cost of education for each path. While I would never want this to be a deterrent to pursuing a career, looking back I wish I would have known the financial gravity of putting myself through medical school, taking the MCAT, applying for schools, etc. I feel like having a career coach or guidance counselor having this information, especially regarding MCAT and application costs, would have potentially impacted my strategy in applying to schools.

Did you start to think about this career path in middle school? Yes, I knew from a young age that I was interested in pursuing a career in medicine. Although, It wasn’t until high school that I was able to start my academic journey toward a health career. If you completed an internship, tell us about it. I completed an internship at MAHEC in Asheville, North Carolina between my junior and senior year of my undergraduate education. I was assigned to a physician who I shadowed throughout clinic and completed a community outreach project, assessing some of the social determinants of health. There was an application and interview process and I found out about this opportunity through my college. It was a paid internship and I no longer have contact with the organization.

Describe any volunteer experiences that contributed to your decision to pursue training in a health career? Mobile health clinic that went into different underserved areas of my local community and offered walk-in appointments, covid testing, and covid vaccine.

What high school courses do you feel helped you? Health Sciences I & II, Pharmacy Technician course, AP Chemistry