1. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hello everyone! My name is Amber Donald and I am a rising senior at the University of Florida studying Health Education & Behavior on the pre-medical track. I am a goofy and loving individual who is passionate about self-love, mental health, and music. I aspire to become a physician one day rooted in social justice and public health work. Feel free to watch my profile video where I explain some more random facts about myself 🙂
I am spending my summer in Boston through the Health Career Connection (HCC) program. It is a public health internship and I got paired with an accountable care organization called Community Care Cooperative (C3). I am researching how to enhance the patient experience and assisting them in developing a universal database that screens for social determinants of health for all the patients at the 17 community health centers.
I plan on applying/matriculating to medical school for the 2020-2021 application cycle and currently researching options for my gap year. If you know of any good programs or options I can do during my gap year, I would greatly appreciate anything you share. In addition, the last pre-req courses that I will be taking this upcoming year is Physics and I am a little nervous about it so I will appreciate any advice, tips, or words of encouragement!
2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? There are honestly three favorite teachers I have had in my life. The first was my 5th grade teacher. She is a Black Woman who challenged me and saw potential in me. She saw something great that I could not comprehend at the time. I am forever thankful for everything she poured into me because she sharpened my resilience, ambition, and diligence entering middle school and beyond.
My AICE Marine Science teacher in high school was one of my favorite teachers as well because he is one of those teachers that loves his job and is in the occupation purely for the students. His passion for marine science was evident as soon as you entered his classroom. He truly cared about his students and he always gave me great life advice as well. I left his class not only prepared for my final exam, but for college as well.
Finally, my AICE math teacher was also one of my favorite teachers because she met me where I was at and never gave up on me. The pace and approach of the class was extremely overwhelming to me initially, but she made sure I understood no matter how many questions I had. She saw me for who I am, recognized my strengths and helped me with my weaknesses. She was also more than just a math teacher. She would invite some of us over at the end of the year for a celebration and help us plan for college and life as well.
3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? I can not pinpoint an “ah-ha” moment for me when I decided I wanted to become a doctor. I was never one of those kids who knew exactly what they wanted to be growing up. I just knew I always had this huge heart and found myself most happy when I was engaging in activities that were community involved. As I grew older and became more socially conscious I started looking at issues such as the Henrietta Lacks story and the Tuskegee syphilis experiment and realized how the healthcare system has always neglected Black bodies. This ignited a fire within me to help make change. I think that coupled with my own personal, family health issues and my heart for service are all major components that lead me to pursue my dream of becoming a doctor.
4. What area of medicine are you interested in? I am extremely passionate about mental health so the field of Psychiatry intrigues me. There is a huge stigma within the Black community about mental health and I want to help break that. I look forward to opening up a clinic with my mom in the future one day. Although that is one of my interests right now, I am also open to exploring other areas of medicine and looking forward to rotations once I am in medical school to truly decide what is the best field for me.
5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? The coolest experience I have had so far on my premedical journey has been getting to attend the Student National Medical Association conference in April. It was in Philly and I got to go with my MAPS chapter. It was so cool to be surrounded by so many minority students, doctors, health professionals, professors, and more making strides in the field of health. From the networking to the workshops to the ceremonies, I truly felt like I was meant to be there and left with validation, motivation, and excitement for my future.
6. What is your favorite book? One of my favorite book series growing up as a child is the The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart. The series is so intriguing and a perfect blend of mystery, challenging SAT words, and character development. I always felt like I was in my own little world when I read those books.
7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. One interesting thing about me is that I started a rap group with some of my friends last Spring called the Scholar Girlz. We were studying one day and it just happened. I hope to drop a Mixtape soon in the Fall. It is a fun little side hobby. I have been working on my freestyle skills this summer as well.
8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? Oh wow, I love this question so much. I feel like I have been called to do a lot of things in life. I have a health/science side to me, but also an artistic/creative side as well. I would want to become a DJ, a voice actor, have my own talk show like Oprah, or have my own radio station/podcast. I also make this joke that I am going to retire as a high school band director one day. I see myself having my own businesses, like family-based clinics and restaurants.
9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? My biggest obstacle as a pre-med student thus far has been Organic Chemistry. Organic Chemistry led me into a state of depression that I thought I was not going to be able to escape. I started to have Imposter Syndrome, questioning my worth and my dreams of becoming a doctor. I had to drop and retake both Organic Chemistry 1 and 2, but I pushed through and I finished. I may not have gotten the best grades in course series, but I am proud of myself for persevering.
10. What do you like most about Diverse Medicine? I love how Diverse Medicine is a community. A community of like-minded people supporting one another on their journey in medicine and health. I love how there is so much positivity, advice, and resources being shared. Whenever I start to doubt myself on my journey, I find myself coming on this website for inspiration and more. I am forever thankful for this website and all the amazing people on here.
Are you a premed? Join Diverse Medicine now. It's free!