“I wish I’d realized that I would have plenty of time to figure out my career path, and that as long as I was enjoying the incremental steps along the way I didn’t need to worry about where exactly I was going to end up"
Class of 2001
Thesis: Women and Medicine in the West: Charlotte Blake Brown and the Founding of the San Francisco Children’s Hospital, 1875-1904
Current Job: Pulmonary and Critical Care Physician and Assistant Professor, Emory University School of Medicine and Rollins School of Public Health, Atlanta Georgia
First Job after Graduation: Waitress, Aspen, Colorado
How did you end up pursuing your career? Do you have any advice for students contemplating similar career paths? What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were an undergraduate?
I knew that I wanted to become a doctor and so I was on the premed “track” at Stanford, but I also knew that I enjoyed the humanities and history. I completed the minimum math and science requirements in order to apply to medical school and, for the remainder of my undergraduate coursework, enrolled in courses that interested me. Thinking back, I wish I’d realized that I would have plenty of time to figure out my career path, and that as long as I was enjoying the incremental steps along the way I didn’t need to worry about where exactly I was going to end up. I now have a career that enables me to balance my interests in clinical medicine and patient care with global health research and capacity building in resource-limited settings.
Has your History training helped you along the way - and if so, how?
My background as a History major has absolutely helped me as a doctor. I would argue that the critical thinking and writing skills that I was able to develop and hone in the History department are as important to my current practice as the knowledge of illness and disease that I acquired during medical school. My current job is a balance between patient care and global health research, and in both of those arenas it is critical for me to be able to synthesize information and communicate clearly and concisely with patients, their families, colleagues and other researchers.
Do you have any particularly fond memories of the History Department?
I have many, many fond memories of classes in the History corner of the quad – from seminar classes with Jack Rakove and Brad Gregory to my thesis project under the guidance of Paula Findlen and David Kennedy. The smaller family of the History department definitely felt like a home within the larger university community.