“I grew up in Chelan. When I was home for the summer from my pre-med studies in South Carolina, working as a nursing assistant at Regency Manor in Chelan, I heard about the Health and Wellness Foundation scholarship and applied. I got it! I was able to reapply annually, and the scholarship helped support me through my last three years of college and during medical school.
The money was very helpful, but so was the assurance that the community was behind me. I appreciated just knowing they were out there, thinking of me, encouraging and supporting me. Each year when I reapplied it was another opportunity to keep that connection going. Keeping them informed of what I was up to helped too — especially being so far from home, I still felt a part of the community here through their support and the scholarship.
After med school I had five years of general surgery training in Seattle, then spent two years in West Africa volunteering as a surgeon through a volunteer international fellowship with Samaritan’s Purse post-residency program.
My family lives in Chelan, and it’s always been home, so when I heard there was a job opening , my husband and I decided to apply. We had just had our first child. I’ve been back for a year and a half now. Our first child is two now, and we also have a 9-month old. It’s great to be back; I love working in my hometown.
What advice would I give high school students considering a career in medicine? I’d say that medicine is a rewarding field. To succeed and be happy, you have to really enjoy helping people and be willing to face the challenges inherent in an evolving, complex field. I would strongly encourage it….in all fields, doctors, nurses, etc. there are countless opportunities for helping others and having an intellectually and emotionally rewarding career.
And to young women I would say that it’s possible to be a woman surgeon, to have a family and make it all work as long as you have the right support at home. I guess I’m proof of that.”