Danielle Ward


Hometown: Everywhere! (Military Brat born in Germany, but currently in Atlanta, GA)

Name of Undergraduate Institution: Louisiana State University

Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Biochemistry Major with a Minor in Chemistry

Name of Graduate Institution: University of Saint Joseph (MS in Biochemistry)

Name of Medical School: Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine – Georgia Campus

Favorite Quote: Qualifications are a measure of opportunity and not worth.” – Dr. Barbara Ross-Lee

Contact Info: aspiringminoritydoctor@gmail.com

Additional Links:

Blog: Aspiring Minority Doctor

Instagram: @LSUsweetheart

Twitter: @MinorityDoctor

Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?

I am currently a third-year medical student pursuing the Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree. I decided to pursue medicine because I have a love for the human body, for lifetime learning, and I can’t see myself doing anything else in life.

If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?

My freshman year of college was over a decade ago, and it honestly all seems like one big blur at this point! I’m a pretty stubborn person, so there really wasn’t much anyone could tell me back then, but I guess the biggest advice I would give myself would be to stay focused and know that everything will fall into place eventually, although it won’t come without a few bumps in the road.

What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?

I had a child my sophomore year of college and went through a divorce, so I had to learn how to navigate school, work, and raising a child as a single parent without having any family around to help me. By the time I entered medical school, I was pretty comfortable balancing school with being a single parent, and it was definitely great to have wonderful friends and classmates offer to help me out when needed.

Additionally, getting accepted into medical school was a major challenge due to a low undergraduate GPA and low MCAT scores, but I made sure everything else on my application was stellar, which eventually led to an acceptance.

Do you have another professional degree? If so, how has it impacted you?

I have a Master of Science degree in Biochemistry and it definitely came in handy for quite a few of my medical school courses. It also helped me further develop my time management skills and good study habits.

What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?

Apply broadly and early! Don’t limit yourself to just one area or a few schools, because you never know what might truly be a good fit for you. Also, realize that the application process takes time, so be prepared for a bit of a stressful waiting game.

Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?

I had four years off between receiving my undergraduate degree and attending medical school. I spent the time working full-time as a research associate in parasitology, getting my master’s degree, traveling, having fun, and enjoying life.

Do you have any passions outside of school? If so, what are they?

When I have time, I love to blog since writing is a huge stress reliever for me. I am also super passionate about helping other underrepresented minority students gain acceptance into medical school as well as helping them make it through medical school, so I stay heavily involved with the Student National Medical Association.

What do you like to do for fun?

I enjoy sleeping, eating, watching movies, and spending time with my daughter and friends.

What did you do during the summer before you started medical school?

I went skydiving, took a trip to Mexico, made it through my bucket list of New Orleans restaurants, made sure to spend extra time with my daughter, and generally just enjoyed life and my last moments of true freedom.

What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?

I make sure to take at least one day per week for relaxation and to bond with my child. This means no schoolwork (unless there was an upcoming exam), no emails, and no business calls, if even for half a day. I’ve learned along the way that people tend to put more stress on themselves than others do to them, so I try to remember the important things in life. Medical school is just a small chapter of my life, and I don’t want to burn myself out so much that I am not able to enjoy all the greatness that is to come.

This is fantastic! Thanks so much for allowing us to have a peek into your busy life Danielle! We really appreciate you taking the time to share some advice with us as well as to help inspire us! Please keep up the awesome work that you're doing!!

Health Career Spotlights Home Page

Posted on March 27th, 2017