Essay by Genevieve Akponye

Genevieve Akponye of Eastvale, CA, won the $2,000 Larry Grannis Memorial Scholarship.

I was first introduced to the world of anatomy when my fifth-grade teacher had the class dissect a frog. I was one of the few girls who weren’t completely disgusted by the sight of the frog. I do admit I was repulsed by the stench of amphibian and formaldehyde, but all that was soon forgotten when my partner made the first incision, opening the body cavity and revealing the frog’s internal organs. I recall being completely mesmerized by the way the organs were compacted and baffled at how such tiny components were able to work together and allow the frog to function in its life. This first interaction conceived a multitude of questions and interests that could only be satisfied with more knowledge. These questions were answered once I took Biology as a freshman in high school. Learning about the main biological processes our bodies undergo both involuntary and voluntary piqued my interest in human anatomy. My junior year of high school, I took AP Biology and Anatomy. In Anatomy, was where I was taught the parts of living things, as well as their physiology. I was able to finally understand the parts of the frog, I dissected in fifth grade.

I chose to pursue a career in medicine because of my interest in biology, that was spurred by the dissections I performed earlier in my academic career. As a child, I was drawn to taking care of younger children. My fondness for taking care of kids and babysitting influenced my decision to become a pediatrician – a profession that combined both my love for life science and taking care of children.

It’s known that doctors must be able to connect well with their patients, to not only diagnose and cure their patients of their ailments but also so that they are able to help them feel comfortable in stressful situations. I have exhibited this empathy and ability to care for young children through babysitting, and these skills will aid me as a future pediatrician.

I hope to continue my academic career at my university studying Molecular & Cell Biology in order to pursue my dream. Although some of my peers may have been primed for medical school since they were young, I am ambitious and possess a curiosity that fuels my desire to learn. I have taken initiative to apply for programs like the Biology Scholars Program which is specifically made for students like me who are underrepresented minorities and would be the first in their families pursuing higher education. I also networked to find mentors who could help advise me on classes and certain activities I should engage in to appear as a good candidate to medical schools in the future. It was through one of my mentors that I found an opportunity for an internship to shadow a pediatrician and assist the doctor for a couple weeks. This opportunity would provide me with first-hand experience of what my life as a pediatrician would look like in the future. I plan to apply to this internship during my sophomore year of college to hopefully be accepted and see it through the following summer. I believe the combination of these activities as well as my grades will help to ensure my success in medical school and beyond.


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