What does inspiration mean to you and how would you use your platform in your future career to inspire others?
My biggest inspiration throughout my academic journey has been my parents. As Haitian immigrants who came to America with little to nothing, I watch them continuously work hard to provide me with a better life. This motivates me to be successful and achieve my dream of becoming a dermatologist. Inspiration is a constant motivator for me in all aspects of my life. It’s something that drives me to continue pursuing a goal. It allows me to be the best version of myself because when someone’s inspired, they won’t settle for less than their goal. Inspiration is the fuel that keeps the engine, that is my mind, moving despite the obstacles that I may face. It is a type of fire that can’t be extinguished because it’s an unbreakable connection between me and my goals.
As a future dermatologist, my goal is to open a clinic in close proximity to areas where marginalized groups reside due to their lack of access to dermatologists. I hope to not only provide treatment and care for my patients but also educate them on taking care of their skin and relatable factors. I plan on going to high schools to seek aspiring doctors and use my experiences to motivate them and shape the future physicians of color. As a dermatologist, I will have many colleagues that work in the medical field. I hope to use my connections to start a program where high school students can shadow doctors in different fields in order for them to understand what it is like to be a doctor. This will hopefully inspire them to take the steps needed to become a doctor themselves. I also plan on starting a nonprofit organization for minorities who are interested in becoming a physician, where I will mentor them and provide them with the resources they need to achieve their goals. With guidance and a push in the right direction, these students will have the inspiration that is vital to become excellent physicians and increase the percentage of minority physicians in the United States. I acknowledge that the lack of mentorship and guidance can create a lack of inspiration in minority groups to pursue the career of their dreams, so by creating this organization, I will be able to inspire high school students to pursue their dreams. As a black student in America, my inspirations are a substantial factor in who I am and who I am becoming. In the future, I hope to use my knowledge and platform to provide opportunities that will encourage more minority students to chase their dreams of becoming a doctor and put aside all fear. Just like my parents' life inspires me to pursue my dreams, I want to be that inspiration for others.
What are you currently doing to inspire those around you?
Inspiring others has always been a continuous goal of mine. Last fall, I started a Senior Buddy Hope Program where I contact elderly people and do weekly check-ins on them through phone calls. I ask them how they’re doing and how they are dealing with COVID-19 and the impact that it’s had on their lives. I also ask about their family and their physical and mental health. They express how they feel lonely during these times and how it impacts their ability to do physical activity. I advise them to walk around the house and try to do as much physical activity as they can. I am able to give them the encouragement that they needed to get through the week and bring them a little bit of joy during these arduous times. I realize that with everything that’s been going on in the world and with the impact of COVID-19, it’s hard to find joy, especially when you’re part of the elderly community and are living alone with little to no human interaction. Simply making someone laugh is enough to inspire them to spread joy and carry on that joy throughout the week. By inspiring others and spreading joy, I am also inspiring and encouraging myself to continue overcoming the obstacles that COVID-19 presents.
Another way I am able to inspire others is through a mentoring program that I am a part of for the Reaching For Success organization. Because of COVID-19, we are not able to meet in person, but we accommodate by meeting through Zoom. I tutor elementary students in kindergarten, first, and second grade. I read books to them and do math problems as well as spelling activities with them. I am able to see significant improvement from when I started tutoring them to now. I manage to inspire my students by making learning fun and something that they can look forward to. I incorporate games into the lesson plans and interactive activities to keep the students engaged. Although they are young kids, I share positive affirmations with them by assuring them that they are intelligent and able to do anything that they put their mind to. Whenever they get an answer wrong or mispronounce a word, I help them correct their mistakes and consolidate them by expressing that making mistakes means that they are learning. My work in the Senior Buddy Hope Program and in tutoring the elementary students exemplify inspiring others because I am able to make a difference not only by providing necessary help but also by planting words of encouragement in their minds.
What you would do with the scholarship award if you were to receive it?
As a first-generation college student, I know for a fact that I won’t be able to afford college alone. This scholarship would ease my tuition burden and would allow me to focus on my education without the constant worry of the financial load. It would be an honor for me to receive this award, and I am certain that it will be a great contribution towards not only my future but the future generations that I’ll be paying it forward to.