Hometown: Aurora, CO
Name of Undergraduate Institution: University of Miami
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: Major: Psychology; Minors: Biology & Chemistry
Name of Medical School: American University of Antigua (MD, in progress)
Favorite Quote: “We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” ― Maya Angelou
Contact Info: firstname.lastname@example.org
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently an MS1 at American University of Antigua College of Medicine. I have a passion for community health & wellness and know firsthand how important Black doctors can be to underserved & minority communities. I want to be a change agent within the system to ensure that these communities get the equitable & high-quality care that they deserve.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell her?
Life isn't going to go exactly according to your plan but that's ok! Take the detours in stride & learn as much as you can while you're there. You'll learn so much about yourself in those times and they're more valuable than you think.
What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue a similar path as yours?
Don't give up. Don't let the competition & the constant push for perfection deter you. At the end of the day, you don't need to be perfect to be a doctor. If you're passionate about medicine, don't take no for an answer.
What is your favorite thing about your medical school?
Besides living in Antigua which is one of the most beautiful countries I've ever seen, I love that our student body is so diverse & comes from so many walks of life. I've met people from so many different cultures and countries who are studying alongside me. It really adds something special to our school & every class that comes in.
Do you have another professional degree? If so, how has it impacted you?
I have an MPH from Tulane University. It has really opened my eyes to all the layers of community wellness and the areas that need the most improvement. As health care providers, we have to remember that we are only a small piece of the puzzle. We have to work together with patients to create treatment plans that take their challenges into account. Ultimately, I can better understand all that “centering the patient” truly should entail.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
Do your research & be strategic about where you're applying! Applications are expensive & you want to be smart about how you're spending your money. It's good to have a dream school but also be realistic about where you can get in. Make a list of attainable schools & don't be afraid to reach out to students & staff in the admissions office to make sure they give you a fair look! If you want it, don't be afraid to fight for it.
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
I ended up taking a little over 4 years off before starting medical school. It wasn't planned but it definitely helped me so much. In that time I applied to medical school 3 times & took a Biochemistry course. I worked as a medical scribe in my local ED which gave me a lot of insight into the medical field. I eventually took a job as the program manager for a community-based HIV testing & education program at my alma mater. That job also provided so much experience in community & public health.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love cocktails! I like experimenting with new things & using them as a way to connect with others. I document a lot of it on my blog which has been a great hobby. I also really enjoy the beach, dance & binge-watching things from my never-ending list.
What did you do during the summer before you started medical school?
Thanks to COVID-19 & lockdown, I didn't get to do much of anything & then school started for me in late July. I attended a lot of Zoom happy hours with my friends & tried to relax & mentally prepare myself for the stress of medical school.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
I try my best to stick to a schedule that includes mental breaks. During those times I try to close everything school related & stream a show or movie, play games on my phone, nap or just zone out for a little while. It really helps me to reset & stay focused especially when getting through really dense material.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
I'm active in SNMA on the local & national levels. I'm also part of the OBGYN interest group.
What were some of your involvements in college? Have those involvements helped you in any way in medical school?
I was really active in Greek life as a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. It really helped me to learn about balance & what happens when I don't pay attention to my limits. It was also a great experience working with so many different kinds of people & learning how to be a leader in different spaces. Now in medical school, I am better at keeping boundaries with myself & it is almost effortless working with the members of my diverse class!
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
I love the Weeknd, he's definitely my favorite artist. After him, I listen to Kaytranada, Beyoncé, Rihanna & Megan Thee Stallion the most. I love true crime! Give a true crime movie, show, book & I will love every minute of it. Best books & movies of all time are the Harry Potter series & there's no debate.
Thank you for sharing with us the experiences that have shaped you into who you are Kiera! Your practical advice will be much appreciated by those who read this feature! Best of luck to you as you power through your medical education and ultimately transition into your medical career as a physician!
Posted on May 7th, 2021