For Natalie, Plan A is to become a doctor. Now in her final year as a Pre-Med student at Lehman College, she readily admits that the path she has chosen is not an easy one. “There are times that I get discouraged, but then I think ‘Medicine. That’s it.’”
Natalie was born in Jamaica. The oldest of three sisters, she immigrated to New York with her family at the age of 16. Her grandfather sponsored her visa with the belief that a life in America would afford them more opportunities. According to Natalie, he was absolutely right.
While the move was somewhat unexpected for her, the transition to a new country and a new life was a relatively smooth one. She enrolled in a small high school where many of the other students had similar experiences to hers. The curriculum in her home country had given her the foundation she needed for the final years of high school. It was the simplest of things—ones many New Yorkers take for granted—that turned out to be the most daunting: using a Metrocard, living in an apartment building and surviving her first Northeastern winter.
College was more of a concept in Jamaica. In America, it was a reality that could take Natalie one step closer to a childhood dream. She says “I always wanted to be a doctor. I could visualize myself in a white coat running around in a hospital.” She chose Lehman because it was close to home and—more importantly—it was affordable.
Her St. George’s Society scholarship allowed her to save the money she will need to apply to medical school. But for Natalie, becoming a scholar is more than just financial aid.
As an Afro-Caribbean woman, she sees medicine as a powerful platform for serving underrepresented communities and enacting positive change. She hopes to set an example for other young women of color and “inspire the rest of my family to go be great.”
After graduation this year, Natalie plans to take two years off to prepare for the MCAT, shadow other doctors and make herself “a more competitive candidate” for medical school. She looks forward to the day she gets to wear that white coat.