*One of a collection of stories written by alumni for the Jepson School's 20th Anniversary

As a prospective student, I was drawn to the Jepson School because of its diverse curriculum and the unique opportunities the school offers.  I had no idea how significantly the school would impact my career choice and life goals. This past May, I graduated from the University of Richmond with a double major in biology and leadership studies. While I have always been interested in science, I never strongly considered a career in medicine until I completed my Jepson internship after my junior year.

With the incredible support of the Robert L. Burrus Fellowship, I was able to intern full-time at a nonprofit medical clinic called Community Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM) near my home in West Chester, PA. I had the incredible opportunity to live and work in the world of medicine as a college student, and it was an experience I will never forget. I learned so much about myself and about being a doctor. I can honestly say that over the course of that summer and that internship, I was given a new direction for my future and I reformed my goals and ambitions in life.

As a member of the CVIM community, I shadowed numerous doctors and closely followed several patients. I soon came to realize that the life of a doctor and a medical student is not a long, lonely path as I previously envisioned, but rather an incredible passageway to an enriching and fulfilling life. It was because of the opportunity offered by Jepson that I discovered that I am truly drawn to the field of medicine—the profession is perfectly suited to my personality and interests. As a person who is always looking for challenges, I want a career that is constantly changing, one that tests me mentally and emotionally, and one in which I am constantly learning. Additionally, I want a career where I can connect and collaborate with others and, most importantly, perform meaningful and fulfilling work. With the support of Jepson, I discovered all of these qualities in the career of medicine.

Furthermore, my internship experience not only inspired me to go to medical school, it also pushed me to learn a new language and instilled in me a passion for care for underprivileged populations. After experiencing the frustration of not being able to communicate with the many Spanish-speaking patients at the clinic, I decided to make my goal of learning to speak Spanish a reality. With my valued experience as a high school math tutor and discussion leader for Jepson’s Justice and Civil Society class, I received a job offer to be an English teacher in South America. Beginning this January, I will be living and working in Cuenca, Ecuador for nine months teaching English at a language institute. 

Like the doctors I met at CVIM, I want to be a compassionate and dedicated doctor, especially to populations who lack adequate medical care.  I am so fortunate to be a member of the Jepson School, because all these dreams would have never been recognized without my internship experience at CVIM and without my Jepson education. 

--Kelsey Sherman