"Through SHPEP, I learned that I am capable of becoming a physician. It is important for there to be more Black physicians and I gained the confidence that there is a future spot for me in medicine."
Ms. Duckett is a rising senior at Spelman College majoring in Psychology on the pre-medical track. She will complete her undergraduate program in May 2023. She participated in the SHPEP virtual program at Columbia University in 2020.
What path did you take when you first started college?
When I first started college, I majored in Psychology on a pre-medical track and have maintained this path throughout college.
What led to your interest in a health profession?
My interest in the health profession started when I reflected on how I have loved the idea of teaching ever since I was a kid. As I started to develop an interest in medicine through my science courses in high school, I brainstormed how I could intertwine my interest in teaching and my interest in medicine. Teaching is at the core of medicine, especially when it comes to helping patients with low health literacy. As a physician, I want to help in providing better patient outcomes, which can start with great patient education.
What obstacles did you overcome in your educational or career journey?
I am a first-generation college student and having nobody in my family who has gone through the path of medicine was a bit overwhelming at first. As I entered college, I quickly learned that adaptability is an important skill to have. I had to adapt to my new classes, and the social aspect of college, maintain my health, as well as keep my goal of becoming a physician in mind. It was through this experience that I also learned how important is to reach out and have mentors or an advisor. The Health Careers Office at my institution is very strong and I am very grateful for their guidance, as I wouldn’t be the student, I am today without them!
What are some of your recent milestones?
Recently, I started a summer internship at Columbia University Medical Center where I will be conducting breast cancer research. I am very excited about this wonderful opportunity, and I will soon be studying for the MCAT and entering my senior year of college.
How did SHPEP influence you?
My experience with SHPEP was virtual, but I am grateful for it, nonetheless. My clinical exposure was virtual, but through an online platform, I was able to gain important clinical skills which I wanted the most through my participation. The community at Columbia was amazing and I felt supported throughout my entire experience. Being around other Black students who were just as motivated as me meant the world to me.
Through SHPEP, I learned that I am capable of becoming a physician. It is important for there to be more Black physicians and I gained the confidence that there is a future spot for me in medicine.
What advice do you have for students pursuing a health professional career?
My advice for students interested in a health professional career is to reach out. There are thousands of other students in your shoes and many people who are willing to mentor you on the right path. You can reach out to friends, family, advisors, or alumni of your institution. Remember that you don’t have to do it alone!