How did you discover your passion for what you do, and what opportunities have helped shape your career?

From a young age, I have been intrigued by the medical profession and advances in health care. I wanted to pursue a career path that would allot the opportunity to provide compassionate care and offer hope to those in need. As an undergraduate, shadowing physicians and volunteering at the hospital reinforced my aspiration to pursue medical school. In medical school, serving in a leadership role for the surgery student group fostered an interest in general surgery. While in surgery residency, my interactions with and caring for women with breast cancer solidified my decision to subspecialize in breast surgical oncology. During fellowship, I have embraced the multifaceted role of a breast surgical oncologist, assuming the role of an educator, a counselor, a scholar, a technician and a leader.


Who has been an invaluable mentor for your professional career? What did you learn from them?

During my residency training, I was fortuitous to find a mentor who has wholeheartedly supported and helped guide my professional endeavors. He embodies the virtues of compassionate care and integrity, and inspired me to pursue a career in surgical oncology. His dedication to research helped me to recognize that a curious mind is an avenue to personal growth. Together, we have cultivated a dynamic working relationship and continue to collaborate on current and future research studies.


How do you make sure you stay connected with your professional network?

With respect to cancer treatment, I am an advocate for the strength in numbers approach. The breadth of knowledge in the realm of breast cancer has become too extensive for any one person, therefore participation in weekly multidisciplinary tumor board meetings is an integral form of effective communication among oncology providers. I routinely reach out or reply to former colleagues across the country via email and phone call to discuss challenging cases and share experiences in HIPAA compliant fashion. Attending conferences and symposiums is an invaluable way to connect with hundreds of surgical colleagues to disseminate knowledge and expertise. Additionally, I am actively seeking out committee positions on national, regional and institutional levels to further enhance my development as a medical professional.


How have friendships helped you professionally? Is there a friend (or Delta Zeta sister) that has been behind you every step of the way on your career journey?

Over the past decade, my pledge sisters have provided me with unequivocal encouragement and steadfast support. Despite the constant changes in our respective personal and professional lives, our sisterhood has endured the inherent challenges of long-distance friendships. The travails of medical school and surgery residency seemed insurmountable at times, however, these five women [my pledge sisters] have helped reframe my perspective through the years by underscoring the value of finding purpose in the process. While the demands of a surgical career are far-reaching, I am emboldened by my pledge sisters’ morale and solidarity.