I was born and raised in “Sweet Home Alabama”, specifically in Hoover, which is right outside of Birmingham. I decided to leave my home state for college, so I moved to New Orleans to attend Tulane University. Unfortunately, my freshman move-in day was also the day I had to evacuate New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina. I ended up spending my fall semester at Birmingham-Southern College back home. Thankfully, I was able to return to New Orleans in January 2006, where I majored in neuroscience, with a minor in German language and literature. While at Tulane, I truly fell in love with the culture, music, food, and “laissez les bons temps rouler” (let the good times roll) attitude of New Orleans.
I decided to go directly into medical school at the University of South Alabama, in Mobile, Alabama. While in medical school, I spent a month in Quito, Ecuador for a medical program focusing on women’s reproductive health. At that point, I fell in love with international medicine, infectious diseases, and public health. I currently live with my boyfriend, Josh, and I am planning on getting a dog soon—stay tuned for its name!
Why did you decide to become a doctor?
Growing up, I always dreamed of becoming a teacher or a physician. Sometime during college, I finally realized I could do both with a career in medicine. That was that! Of course, I loved science as a kid, and I always wanted a job where I’d be able to work with people from all walks of life. I can’t imagine a more fulfilling career choice.
What do you like about the Charlottesville area?
I love spending time outdoors, whether kayaking (I hope to buy my own kayak soon!), swimming, hiking, or simply finding a nice spot for a relaxing afternoon picnic or curled up with a book. The mountain views are stunning, and the weather has been pretty incredible so far, especially when compared to the hot and humid summers of the deeper south. I honestly cannot wait to try all the restaurants that people keep raving about around town. Of course, I can’t forget to mention the vineyards, as well as my favorite weekend activity, Fridays After Five.
What opportunities do you have at UVA that made you choose us?
UVA remained at the forefront of my mind during interview season because of the incredible global health opportunities available to residents, as well as the strength of the infectious disease program. However, equally important, I really got along with all the residents I met during my interview day. I truly had that “gut feeling” telling me that UVA and Charlottesville were the perfect fit for me.
Proudest/greatest achievement outside the professional realm?
My proudest achievement outside of work has definitely been sustaining many great relationships over the years. I am lucky to have friends from all chapters of my life that I still keep in close contact with and visit as often as I can.
What are you usually doing on the weekend or during your time off?
I am very crafty, so in my time off, I usually have some ongoing project that consumes my time. I also love to garden and am currently trying to grow my first batch of vegetables—my tomatoes look great so far, but my zucchini, not so much. Otherwise, I can be found hiking a new trail, spending time with friends at local restaurants, wineries or the pool, or listening to live music throughout the city. I am also crazy about college and NFL football, so during the fall, I usually can be found watching a game or saying funny things like “war eagle” or “who dat!” However, whenever I get a chance, I am always up for traveling to visit friends and family throughout the country.
How did you meet your partner?
Josh and I became great friends during my sophomore year of college. We always found ways to spend time together, whether grilling out, watching college football every Saturday (yes—we are true Southerners), exploring New Orleans, or just hanging out. Not to mention, we both bonded over being diehard Saints fans. We started dating my senior year of college and have successfully completed four years of a long distance relationship during medical school!
Favorite vacation or recreational activity spot?
African safari, hands down. There is no other feeling quite like waking up to a beautiful African sunrise, spending the day amidst some of nature’s most incredible animals, and falling asleep under a million stars. What an adventure!
Most admired person, and why?
I have been lucky over the years to encounter many people that I admire, including family, friends, teachers, and colleagues. Without any of these individuals, I would not be the person I am today.
Best advice anyone ever gave you?
My mom has always told me, “you’ll never know until you try.” This piece of advice always helps me find the necessary strength and courage that I need when I am in doubt.
What about you would surprise us?
I have been within arms reach of lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, and wild dogs while in an open Land Rover as well as on foot during safaris in Africa. Yes, these were wild animals, and no, there were no barriers between us, aside from my camera of course! My favorite animal of all time — the giraffe.