Hometown: Walkertown, NC
Name of Undergraduate Institution: Morehouse College ‘13
Major(s)/Minor(s) in College: BS – Biology, MS – Biomedical Sciences
Name of Medical School(s): Wake Forest Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ’16, Wake Forest School of Medicine
Favorite Quote: “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things.”
Contact Info: Kuingram@wakehealth.edu
Additional Links: SYSTEM Facebook Page
Where are you currently at in your career path and why did you decide to pursue this career path?
I am currently a first-year medical student. My interests are in the field of Trauma Surgery and Emergency Medicine. After graduation from college, I went into emergency services. As a firefighter, EMT, and rescue technician, I’ve braved insurmountable temperatures, robbed death, and obliterated the seemingly indestructible in order to help others reach for second chances at life. More importantly, working in emergency services confirmed my calling in Trauma Surgery and Emergency Medicine. When presented with fear, chaos, and destruction, I reciprocate order and new life. I’ve learned to thrive under angst and pressures that will destroy most people. I believe that I am meant to take on greater responsibilities for the lives of my fellow man, both in the operating room, as well as in the community.
The most interesting concept to grasp about Emergency Medicine is that it doesn’t take years of smoking or fast food to end up in the emergency room; all it takes is a bad day. Regardless of race and socioeconomic status, we all have bad days. As a trauma surgeon, my time and talents will most efficiently be utilized by continuing what I have been doing for years now; taking control of someone’s bad day, and helping them hold on to see tomorrow. With every tomorrow comes a new life. Everybody deserves a second chance at life, love, and family. It is one of God’s most precious gifts and I am honored if I am the modality by which it comes.
If you could go back and have a chat with your naïve college freshman self, what would you tell him?
If I could go back to my naïve college freshman self, I would tell him that “everything is going to be ok, because there is a plan for your life”. School, and life for that matter, is a journey. Things come our way so fast, we often forget which way is up. When everything seems like it’s caving in on you, it’s so easy to lose sight of your goals and dreams. Its’s so easy to want to give up, or feel like there is no way that you, out of all people, can make it. In the moment, mistakes and missteps appear of gargantuan proportions. Tribulations I thought would take me out of the game indefinitely, I now look back at and laugh.
It is important to remember that every obstacle seems significant in the moment, but it’s just a matter of iron sharpening iron. Everything that happens in life helps to mold you into the person that you are meant to be. Perseverance in the face of adversity is key.
What is a major challenge you have had to overcome and how did you do so?
When I graduated from Morehouse, I was in no position to apply to medical school. My GPA was trash, I had never taken the MCAT, and I didn’t know how I was going to do next. I made a couple poor applications a grad school at the time which were thwarted by the recieving schools. Honestly, I wouldn’t have accepted me at that point in my life either.
It took 2 years of self-reflecting, building my hunger and drive for the field that I once craved so badly, until I got to the point in which I couldn’t stand to be away from it any longer. I applied and was accepted to the Wake Forest post-baccalaureate/master’s program. This was my chance at redemption, to show the world, and more importantly myself, that I was capable of doing the work and that I deserve to be here. I did exceedingly well academically, and had numerous new life experiences. I was then accepted and matriculated into Wake Forest School of Medicine. I love to tell people that because it often gives hope to those people who are in the position that I once was. If I can make it, you can too.
What advice would you give to someone getting ready to start their application process to medical schools?
Shoot your shot. Lol. You’ll never make 100% of the shots you don’t take. You can’t be afraid of the word “no”. It’s just a word, and it only has as much power as you give it.
Did you take some time off before medical school? If so, what did you do during that time?
I didn’t start medical school until 3 years after I graduated from Morehouse in 2013. The first 2 years off, I spent in the Fire-EMS field. I was a firefighter, EMT, and rescue technician in my local fire department. I had the opportunity to devote a lot of time to my community and emergency services. I was truly grateful for this time in my life as I had the opportunity to do a job that I deeply love. I also worked in aquatics at the YMCA as a lifeguard/lifeguard instructor, water fitness instructor, and swimming instructor. The year before I matriculated into Wake Forest School of Medicine, I spent earning a Master’s degree in Biomedical Science from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Wake Forest.
How have you been able to deal with your romantic relationship and medical school at the same time?
I’m praying about this one. Lol.
What do you do to get through the stressful nature of medical school?
I’m not a person who normally gets too stressed out. On the occasion that I do, I love to work out, listen to music, and spend time alone to reflect. It also helps sometimes to just take a break. If I am feeling overwhelmed, or that I’ve been working too hard, I’ll take the night off to watch a movie or to do something fun.
What extra-curricular activities are you involved in at your school?
So far, medical school has allowed me to take on several opportunities to give back. I serve in the Student Government Association as the Student Representative for the Medical Alumni Association, which allows me to advocate for my classmates on issues such as alumni involvement and scholarship funds. I’ve recently become Special Projects Director of the free student-run DEAC clinic, which allows me to take healthcare to the doorstep of the community in which I grew up in. I’m a proud member of the Student National Medical Association. I am probably most excited about the new minority male mentorship program that I have been able to get off the ground with the support of my top-notch team called S.Y.S.T.E.M.
The Supporting Young Scholars Through Empowerment and Mentorship program is the result of a partnership with local Petree Elementary school. S.Y.S.T.E.M. was developed for young scholars facing behavioral and/or academic challenges to teach life lessons and provide male guidance to help scholar growth, emotionally and academically, through group activities and one-on-one mentoring.
Young minority men are increasingly becoming incarcerated and killed at an alarming rate. As a member of this population, and from personal experience, I believe that this disparity can begin to be rectified through early intervention using mentorship. Minority males in my community don’t reach for greatness because they don’t often see successful persons that look like them without a basketball or a microphone in their hand. We are here to show these young men that they can do whatever they put their mind to, as living breathing examples.
What is it like attending school in your city/town?
Attending school in my hometown has its advantages and disadvantages. I love being close to my mother, family, and friends. I didn’t have to adjust to a new city, and I was very familiar with WFSOM and the medical center. Winston-Salem has also grown substantially in the arts and culture, so there is a lot more to do now than when I was growing up.
On the other hand, attending school in a city that you grew up in can be somewhat dangerous. It is easy to get caught up in old ways that you had before making it to this point in life. There are a lot of old distractions and some people may not understand that you can’t do some of the things that you once did. It is also a disadvantage if you want to experience more of the world as I do. I’ve spent most of my life in Winston-Salem and I want to get out and see more.
Who are some of your favorite musicians? Favorite books? Shows? Movies?
- Artists – Anthony Hamilton, Chance the Rapper, Aaliyah, J. Cole, Snarky Puppy
- Books – Othello
- Movie – The Wood
This is absolutely phenomenal Kwone! I really appreciate you taking the time to share so much about yourself with us. Your words will mean more than you can imagine to many people who will come across this feature and I’m certain that you will continue to inspire countless others who will get the chance to meet you! And I 100% agree with what you said about shooting your shot; it’s definitely applicable in all walks of life! Keep hustlin’ bro!
Posted on March 13th, 2017