1.Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m originally from Eritrea, but I spent the majority of my life in Germany. I grew up in an area which was primarily populated by immigrants from Europe and Africa. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in German Studies, I worked for the U.S. Army at the public affairs office as a host nation liaison. I came to the United States with my family about four years ago and took about one year to settle in before I started working on my master’s in Applied Physical Sciences from Georgia Southern University. My husband is an active duty soldier in the Army, so I JUST graduated before we got orders to Fort Bragg. Now I’m in a graduate program in German Studies at Duke University. In my (little bit of) free time I enjoy cooking, martial arts, running and reading. The things I value the most in life are my family, meaningful friendships and traveling whenever possible.
2. Who was your favorite teacher in school and how did he or she impact you? I never had a favorite teacher in school. But I had a teacher that did impact me greatly. It was my German teacher in high school who told me that I would never be able to make it to college. We were a poor working-class family and people in our area usually chose to do an apprenticeship (very common in Germany) and then get a job to support their families. I don’t think that she meant any harm, but I was hurt. I truly believe that she thought she was doing me a favor by sharing her reality, her experience with most immigrants who went to that school. It taught me to choose my words wisely and to never assume that my reality corresponds with anyone else’s.
3. When did you first decide you wanted to become a doctor and why? Until our move to the U.S., I did not think that I would ever actually pursue medicine as a career. It was my research experience at Georgia Southern, followed by volunteering and shadowing that convinced me that this was the right career for me.
4. What area of medicine are you interested in? So far, I’m primarily interested in pediatrics. I imagine for it to be challenging and yet fulfilling to advocate for children when they are most vulnerable.
5. What’s the coolest experience you’ve had so far on your premedical journey? The coolest experience I’ve had so far was MED, a medical development program at UNC. This was the first time I have spent this much time with like-minded people. It felt great to be immersed in the medical environment for almost 9 weeks. I met new people that I consider to be my friends even after the program. I recommend this adventure to anyone who is thinking about going into medicine. I got to know my strengths and weaknesses, and I have learned so much new information about myself. Everyone who is part of the program has your best interest at heart and will go above and beyond to help you to get where you want to be as a person and as a professional.
6. What is your favorite book? I don’t really have favorite things in general. But one of the more recent books I truly enjoyed reading was Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air and Ludwig Tieck’s Der blonde Eckbert.
7. Tell us one thing interesting about you that most people don’t know. I have been working on a draft for my own book for quite some time. Until today, no one but my husband knew about it.
8. If you couldn’t be a doctor, what would you want to do? I definitely want to spend my life serving others. If I could not be a doctor, I would probably pursue a career in social justice.
9. What has been your biggest obstacle as a premed and how did you (or are you) overcome it? I think that finding a balance between family life, pre-med life, graduate school and my job as a teacher has been the biggest obstacle for me. I have come a long way and I do not believe that it would have been possible without the support of my loving family, our friends and above all- God.
10. What do you like most about PreMed STAR? The road to medical school is long and bumpy for everyone. PreMed Star is a unique resource for pre-meds from all over the country to connect with each other, share experiences and provide support.
First PreMed of the Week Feature on 9/19/2017.
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