Where did you receive your education?
I was blessed that my family sent me to private school for my entire life, starting with pre-K at Milwaukee Montessori School and going there through eighth grade. I chose to attend Pius XI High School due to their performing arts programs, as I was heavily involved with Milwaukee Children’s Choir and was also involved in dancing. My parents were understanding and pushed me to do the best in school I could do. I was able to round my grades up by the end of my senior year to a 4.0 through the extra weight AP classes gave me. I wanted to continue my trend of small, private schools and needed access to professors who wanted to help me and were able to do that one-on-one, so I found Cardinal Stritch University. Not only was it Catholic, but it was close, small and had a pre-Med program built into the biology major.
What is one of your best memories of attending Catholic school?
I remember having a lot of fun recording for “Heart of the Nation” in high school. It felt so cool to be “backstage” in a filming of a Mass that would be broadcast for those unable to leave their homes. In college, it was so beneficial to have a campus minister there (because) I could just drop into their office and chat, sometimes about regular schoolwork and often about my faith. I had fallen out of going to weekly Mass for years. Because I attended a Catholic university, it allowed me to ease my way back into it. I started by going to noon Friday Masses every week and then began going to Sunday Mass every other week. Eventually, I worked my way up to every Sunday again. I worked with our campus minister to start the process of adult confirmation and then would routinely drop in and talk his ear off about what new things I had learned that week as I went through the process. It felt like the Catholic community just wrapped itself around me over time, and that first little “hug” was possible because I attended a Catholic university.
What made you want to become a doctor?
The seed was planted sometime around the fourth grade, when I had a friend whose father was an anesthesiology resident at the time. I was so fascinated by what he did, and the more I learned about becoming a doctor over the years, the more I couldn’t get it out of my head. I thought of nursing for a time and even thought of being a mortician or autopsy technician. I wanted to be close to the wonders of the human body but was scared that I was not the right person to have someone’s life in my hands. All I can say is that I had a calling to it, and the more I learn about the human body and the medical field — I get more and more excited.
You did your internship at Open Arms Free Clinic. What did you learn from that experience?
I was deeply moved by all that they do for the underserved community. While it was quite a drive to go to Elkhorn consistently, I realized I wouldn’t find a better place for hands-on medical experience while also being able to do some good. I learned there are many medical disparities in the world, but also how much good you can do individually just by volunteering your time. I am excited to try to work on those disparities as a physician one day and would always joke to everyone there that in a few years they would see me coming back to volunteer. The community was so amazing, and it made me sad to finish and focus on school again.
How does your faith connect with your desire to practice medicine?
I have found that my Catholic faith works in my desire to help people in any way, and that desire is a beautiful and important piece of the larger picture of why I love medicine. I think the human body is fascinating and amazing in its complexities. My faith comes in when I am working hands-on with people. In the people I help, I see God’s creation and the dignity and reverence all his creation is due. When I was tasked with choosing a saint for confirmation, I very quickly landed on St. Gianna Molla, who was a wonderful physician, wife and mother, and is the patron saint of physicians, mothers and unborn children. Her life story spoke to my life and my goals in pursuing medicine and beyond, and her example drives me forward daily.
What do you do in your free time?
In my free time, I love to walk, hike, work out and sing. I stayed in choir and voice lessons throughout my time in undergrad as a hobby, even before I found the choir at the basilica. I also love making blankets. I have made quite a few “chunky” blankets with large blanket yarn using finger knitting and am working on my first one with “normal” sized yarn, which I’m using a large loom to make. In the winter, my dad and I try to get out to ski when we can. When I get the time, I like to read fantasy novels. I love Brandon Sanderson’s series and I have recently just completed the first book of “The Wheel of Time.”