I graduated from Columbia University in 2015 with a BA in Sustainable Development and a
strong impulse to heal the world, but an uncertainty in what that outlet would be. My
education had shown me to exercise deep caution when implementing change; better first to
listen to what a community needs, rather than barge in with your own ideas of what should be
improved. Believing that education is the foundation of growth for society and wanting to
affect change in the community I grew up in, I began teaching math for Bank Street, an
education research institution, on a year-long project designed to improve long-term outcomes
for children living in poverty in New York City. Towards the end of that year, I enrolled in night
classes at the International Culinary School to sate a lifelong passion for the culinary arts.
However, immediately after passing my Level 1 final, life hit me right in the appendix, and I had
to take a medical leave of absence to recover from my appendectomy. In the interim, I began
working at a bakery on the Lower East Side making bagels, and worked on the side consulting
for the business end of a soup company in Chelsea Market.
It was during this health-imposed break that I realized I was going to return to complete the
requirements and apply to medical school; I knew now what my outlet would be. I wanted to
work with people, not behind a desk, and to experience creating a tangible and immediate
change. During the follow up with my surgeon, I mentioned my budding interest in becoming a
physician, and he revealed that he too had once faced the choice between a culinary profession
and going to medical school; he jokingly remarked that medical school was easier to get into, so
he chose that instead.
I see many parallels between my work in the restaurant industry and my
interest in a surgical profession: the fast-paced and demanding nature, the importance of
preparation, meticulousness to detail, intense physicality, and prioritizing the needs of our
customers. Hospitals are, in some measure, a part of the service industry. That feeling of
immediacy and the privilege of helping others attracts me to medicine. Science also helps to
feed my curiosity and fascination with the world; to realize that there is underlying structure
and to discover simple laws that govern forces is absolutely fascinating. I hope to someday
deeply and intimately comprehend the craft of the human body.
As for which historical figure I would like to meet: if I could sit in someone’s brain for a day in
the present, it would be President Obama, or Elon Musk. If I get to bring someone from their
time period into ours, perhaps Eliza and Alexander Hamilton.