I never considered medicine at all
during college. Only in my final semester when I took an EMT class, for really just
a change of pace, I got my first taste of the medical field. I advanced in EMS from
being a volunteer EMT and then later to full-time paramedic. While I was working
in EMS and rural communities at Virginia I really recognized how much health care
the primary care needs were being unmet in these communities, and I knew that I
wanted to find a community like that someday and provide the needs that they
had at a higher level. Class president has been a role that allowed me to
really engage with my classmates more than maybe I would have otherwise. The
idea for the Garden Club came during first year—I remember our public health
professor during first year talked about his love of growing tomatoes and I
remember finding some classmates who had also kind of dabbled in maybe windowsill
gardening or had experiences in their their family’s backyard garden growing
up, and there were enough of us that thought that just growing vegetables was
fun and relaxing and maybe applicable to our nutrition needs. Then it was just a
matter of getting some space and getting organized. We had either two or three
planted the first year and then based on the success of those and the engagement
with the students, we were able to build a few more raised beds in the same area.
I try to be a grounded person, and my family has had a big role in that I was
last grounded when I was 17 for not cleaning up my room and I never cleaned
it up so I remain grounded to this day. [laughter]

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