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While I continued to pull through the heavy water, I heard the coxswain call out, "This is it!" My feelings of complete exhaustion and loss of breath would have to wait. Months of getting up at five in the morning for drills on the Strong River would come down to one final moment. Rowing in college had meant working hard surrounded by teammates who shared enthusiasm and drive. Although my present goal is to train in dermatology, tenets in rowing continue to serve me today: hard work and perseverance never go out of style. As my fondness for rowing demonstrates, I love a good challenge. The opportunity for challenge and new discovery attracted me to chemical engineering and medical research as an undergraduate. While working in a lab at Harvard, I became interested in applying technology to the field of medicine. I was given many hands-on tasks including learning tissue grafting. Surgery on animals allowed us to study tumor angiogenesis and directly visualize vessel growth and regression. My talents in engineering proved to be of great use when I developed an algorithm to quantify blood flow. I had found research I truly enjoyed and this interest motivated me.
In medical school, I enjoyed the visual inspection of physical diagnosis; clearly describing what I saw came naturally. I enjoyed the focus of small, hands-on procedures. Dermatology captured my interest and by early in my fourth year, I decided I needed more time to explore the field. Following medical school, I took a two-year position at Medical University where my engineering background allowed me to contribute to the creation of a survey tool for an outcomes research study where I gained critical skills in conducting clinical trials. I became expert in FDA and IRB regulatory issues and spent a great deal of time seeing dermatology patients. Gleaning clues from subtle distinguishing features required a true love of the diagnostic process; studying disease and following treatment outcomes continued to be satisfying. Together, these experiences confirmed my enthusiasm for dermatology was worth pursuing.
The field of dermatology appeals to me for many reasons. The relationship between doctor and patient is collaborative and often ongoing. Blistering and other diseases offer a spectrum of severities and clinical challenges. Our growing understanding of the skin's immune system makes this an especially exciting time to be in dermatology. Developing new therapies is tremendously rewarding—-and the end results thrilling to see.
Since completing my medical internship in June, I have worked as a Clinical Fellow with the Department of Dermatology. I continue to add to my research skills guiding a Phase III melanoma vaccine trial. I have become expert in vaccine development, manufacturing, and testing. My experience has allowed me to collaborate with world-renowned dermatologists and researchers. Skills I develop here will surely serve me well throughout my career.
My goal is to utilize my unique background in engineering to one day design and test new dermatologic therapies of my own. I would consider myself lucky to return to My University for residency and my elective only strengthened this feeling. I believe My University can offer the ideal training environment for the type of career I have chosen. The diversity of clinical settings and spectrum of disease is appealing, and training with research leaders such as Skin Doctor would offer a great perspective on evolving therapies, as well as continued mentorship. I will continue to use hard work and determination to reach my goals in dermatology and like in rowing, look forward to new challenges and discoveries ahead.The love of skin and its disorders drives me toward the dermatology profession.
My interest in the field helped me to focus on it during my medical school career. The viral exanthems and rashes of children during my pediatrics rotation, the unusual PUPPS and Herpes Gestationes presentations found in pregnancy, the self-inflicted skin lesions present in the psychiatric population, and the dermatological presentations of systemic diseases in my internal medicine rotation all fascinated me. During my family medicine rotation, aware of my love for dermatology the attendings directed their dermatology cases my way. I loved the challenge of diagnosing things my peers found puzzling. I was drawn to the subtle manifestations of diseases on the skin and the consequences they have on each patient. Drawn to the emotional rewards of removing a malignant skin lesion or treating a depressed teenager with acne, gave me more reason to pursue dermatology.
Early on in my medical school career, I discovered that working with patients of all ages and backgrounds as a physician is essential to my happiness. I’ve enjoyed working with the elderly population from working in a nursing home during high school to volunteering for Hospice during college and medical school. I have spent 2 years as an elementary school reading tutor and volunteered for a year in the NICU and Children’s Medical Center at the University of State. Working with teenagers for several summers as a camp counselor has also proven to be rewarding and as well as insightful. All encompassing, Dermatology allows me the opportunity to work with the pediatric, geriatric and oncologic populations. Diverse and ever changing, the field of dermatology excites me and will continue to excite me throughout my career.
Numerous life experiences have prepared me for this field. Traveling across the country with 35 teenagers for Teen Tours, working as a Resident Assistant in a college dormitory and acting as a camp counselor at an active mountain camp exemplify my ability to work well with others. The oldest of four children, I have taken on the role of responsibility and leadership in my life. On an individual level, I have mentored a young child for the past several years, which has impacted us both greatly. Outside of medicine, I found personal growth and life changes while whitewater rafting down the Big River, water skiing on Lake Giant and hiking through Big Canyon. These extracurricular activities help to encompass the person I am. I am not only adventurous and easy to get along with but I am also a dedicated hard worker who pays attention to details.
Dedication to my goals and the hard work to follow it through are demonstrated by my active involvement in several research projects in college and medical school which have prepared me for dermatologic research. Currently working on a paper with the University Department of Dermatology on malignant melanoma and sentinel lymphadenectomy, the study of skin malignancies enthralls me. I am also focused on completing a Merkel Cell Cancer paper and submitting it to CME for publication. I enjoy any small contributions I am able to make to influence patient treatment and education.
Now during my dermatopathology rotation, a new aspect of dermatology has come to excite me. To biopsy a lesion with clinical suspicion only to have it confirmed/refuted by histological findings is the perfect clinical-pathologic marriage. Only then can one truly make a diagnosis with certainty. I have enjoyed this ideal and am leaning towards a dermatopathology Fellowship upon the completion of my dermatology Residency. Ideally, I will supplement my career as a practicing clinician by reading my own slides. My dedication and love for this field will make me an asset to the profession.
My interest in dermatology began at a young age, yet my subsequent experiences in the profession have helped me decide, unequivocally, that dermatology is the path for me. I strive for excellence and personal growth in my life. I empathize with the pruritic lesions of atopic dermatitis, painful lesions of bullous pemphigous and the emotionally scarring lesions of acne. The desire to treat and heal these lesions with their accompanying medical and social problems drive me to become a successful dermatologist.