Sharon Long: Feel good. Sometimes helping others is just what the doctor ordered.
Before you complain about the cold you caught from that guy who kept sneezing in your World Views class, think about this: Things could be a lot worse.
Just ask 2004 chemistry graduate Sharon Long, whose extensive experience treating chronically ill patients belies the fact that she's only 23 years old. Her resume includes working in the E.R., serving as a pediatric cardiology research assistant and providing care for AIDS and anthrax victims in Kenya.
"I did surgery and other things in Kenya you would only do as a thirdyear medical student here," says Long, who's pursuing her M.D. at the Loma Linda School of Medicine. "I think that once you have a skill like practicing medicine, you can do so much, and you can help so many people."
The aspiring physician from Gresham, Ore., eventually plans to practice medicine in parts of Thailand that are gripped by child prostitution and abuse. But at Willamette, she devoted time to people in her immediate vicinity. She mentored a 12-year-old girl with a troubled home life, assisted at-risk youths as part of a local Girl Scout program and tutored children at a nearby middle school. And through it all, she gained knowledge and insights that have only strengthened her desire to care for others.
"What Willamette helped me with is having a foundation," says Long. "I've just learned so much, and there's a confidence there. I think Willamette creates amazing people. We're determined and ambitious and creative, but we're well-rounded at the same time. And the people who are hiring, the people who are accepting applications for medical or graduate school - they know the name 'Willamette.'"