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Elizabeth Blackwell

What historical figure would you want to meet: Elizabeth Blackwell. She was the first female physician in the mid 1800s in the United States. I can't imagine the challenges she faced being the only woman in a completely male-dominated field. I'd love to pick her brain and learn what worked for her.

Emily Willard

What was I doing before/are there parallels: I was working for a network of charter schools - Harlem Village Academies as a Program Manager. In that role, I worked with the development and fundraising team to design and manage after school, tutoring and Saturday reading programs for kids and as a way to engage high net-worth donors. Getting inspired to come to medicine had little to do with that job - I actually was inspired by an injury I had myself which opened my eyes to the endless opportunities in medicine. But yes, I do see many parallels between the education non-profit world and medicine. Both require you to meet someone else's needs. At the school, my job was to serve low-income students and find the funds to get them through the 12th grade and then to college while making our donors' feel valued and appreciated. Each student and family was unique just as each patient's needs and story are unique. Finding a one-size-fits all approach does not work in either model. Lucky to have had this previous work experience as I think it'll help me be a better provider moving forward.

What do you find most interesting about science: There are so many ways to look at solving problems. I used to hate science because I thought it was not a creative field - I thought that there were right or wrong answers and that things were black and white. While that is sometimes the case, I've found that more often than not there are so many ways to approach problems - be it an Organic Chemistry problem set or an approach to a therapeutic intervention. I love that there are many ways to find a common helpful solution. I also love that it is a constantly changing and evolving field. I love reading about recent discoveries in science - it's so exciting to think about how far we've come just in our own lifetimes - sometimes I daydream about where we'll be 20-30-40 years from now. 





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What excites me: endless opportunities to learn. I love to learn and I love that learning is our primary purpose for the foreseeable future. Beyond that, I truly just love meeting and connecting with people. I think the power of human connection - be it a stranger or a close friend or a patient is so special and one of the most beautiful parts of life. As future providers, it'll really be our job to make our patients feel heard, acknowledged and cared for. It's a unique privilege and challenge that I don't think exists at this level of intimacy in other fields.