Thursday, September 8, 2011

Wrapping Things Up Part III: What I'm thankful for

What I’m thankful for (or who in my case)
The biggest gift I got in Botswana was the chance to work with an amazing group of people. This experience would have been nothing without them. I was blown away with their generosity in teaching me and I am hell-bent on “paying it forward” at every available opportunity. 

Dr. Kovarik: she is the principle investigator of the vulvar cancer study and she is the one who sent my to Botswana. First of all, I am in awe of her: her accomplishments are staggering especially given how young she is. More than that, I am impressed by her can-do attitude: she is involved with so many projects and . I was introduced to her by a dermatologist I was shadowing and within our first meeting she set me up with this opportunity and even tried to help me find another project for last spring.
Her trust in me was really humbling and I was determined not to let her down. She was so supportive of my throughout this whole process: responding thoughtfully to my emails and encouraging me to pick up other projects. Also, I really appreciate that Dr. Kovarik was willing to let me shape my own experience. Not only that, she really listened to my input when I raised concerns or offered suggestions on how to better the study. I can't believe how lucky I was to have had this opportunity and I really hope I can work with her in the future.

Jennifer (aka Jenny G): although Jenny was only around for a week, I feel like I found a lifelong friend (yes, corny). Jenny gave me permission to unleash my inner derm nerd. She would answer streams of questions, let me do board exam practice questions with her and talk to me about how I can get more involved with derm at Penn. I can’t think of a more patient, non-pretentious and thoughtful teacher than Jenny. I am actually writing this post on a bus to NYC and one of the reasons I’m going (besides my birthday on Monday!) is to see Jenny who just took her first job there! 
 
Aileen: Aileen is a fourth year at Penn and I've adopted her as my "derm big sister." We met before Bots and clicked right away. She offered me advice on everything from when to do my rotation to which necklace to wear and she was even nice enough to let me help her with a mobile learning study. I'm psyched that she's in Philly another year.

I've already written about Kari and Dougie so I'll keep in brief but no list of mentors would be complete without these two:


Kari (aka the Wanat aka Armageddon): Kari Wanat may be the nicest person ever but trust me, she is no pushover. Her arrival was a burst of enthusiasm and to say that she is hardworking and intelligent is an understatement. And her unique combo of disarming smile + midwestern accent + determination is amazingly effective at getting things done!

Doug (aka Dougie Fresh): my partner in crime for 4 weeks and one of the funniest people I have ever met. He was endlessly patient with me and my insane amount of questions and a great doctor.

As you can see, I was really blessed to have hung out with  such an awesome crew. They shaped my experience in such a major way. I am but a lowly med student peon so I can't express enough gratitude for how much they included me and shared their knowledge and experience. So thanks to team derm for making this such an unforgettable summer! 

P. S. Thanks so much to Jessica Mikulski and Penn for spotlighting my blog on the Penn Medicine website Renee Chenault-Fattah for interviewing me on NBC Healthwatch before I left/featuring my blog on their facebook page, and Lisa Katz for linking my blog on the PSOM alumni page. Lastly, thanks to my grandmother for reading this blog because despite all the above publicity, I'm pretty sure she's the only one to actually read most of it (confirmed by the fact that my own mother admitted to being a periodic reader...love you mom!).

P.P.S If you reallllllly miss my killer puns and witty prose (I'm looking at you Nana)....I'm blogging as a part of the Perelman School of Medicine blog. No meerkats or lions (yet....) but I've already posted a picture of me waist deep in the dirty water of the Schuylkill river so that might be worth a gander just to laugh at my poor judgment.


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