I grew up in a small suburb of San Francisco, California. I earned my undergraduate degree in biochemistry and cell biology as a Regents Scholar at the University of California in San Diego, worked as a research associate in a UCSD neuroscience laboratory for one year, and then attended UC San Diego School of Medicine. In my last year of medical school, my husband, a Navy SEAL, was selected for a SEAL team on the East Coast, so I followed him across the country.
I completed my residency and chief residency in Pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School and Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. After my chief year, I stayed in the Virginia Beach area for the next three years working in a general pediatrics practice and a pediatric allergy practice while my husband completed his active duty military career. I started my fellowship in Allergy and Immunology at the University of Virginia last July, and I am currently in my second year. I live in a beautiful and friendly neighborhood in Albemarle County with my husband, our three children, and our golden retriever.
Although it sounds cliché, I was initially drawn to the field of allergy and immunology by my personal experience with asthma and allergies. However, it was my fascination with the way the immune system works that ultimately held my interest. The opportunity to practice clinically while contributing to medical advances in the field and literally taking work from the bench to the bedside is unparalleled.
What do you like about the Charlottesville area?
I enjoy being outdoors, and the mountains here are breathtaking. My family and I are often out running the trails (with two jogging strollers!) or hiking through the mountains near our home.
What opportunities do you have at UVA that made you choose to come to UVA?
The Allergy and Immunology program at UVA was highly recommended by alumni, one of which was my faculty mentor in residency and professional colleague thereafter. I was attracted by the opportunities for mentorship, the beautiful location, and the division’s commitment to research.
Proudest/greatest achievement outside the professional realm?
My greatest achievement outside the professional realm is simultaneously raising my three young children. I have a 5-year-old boy, Connor, who just started kindergarten, an almost 3-year-old girl, Rachel, who is still trying to master potty-training, and a 15-month-old girl, Abby, who just discovered that her siblings’ toys are more fun than hers. My husband travels extensively for his job, so keeping up with all three kids can definitely be challenging, but it is always rewarding.
What are you usually doing on the weekend or in your spare time?
I usually spend my weekends hanging out with my family and doing laundry! My husband and I try to take the kids on at least one outdoor adventure per weekend. We also love to travel. We are taking the whole family to Europe later this month for my husband’s graduation from the London School of Economics, and we are planning a trip to Hawaii next year.
How did you meet your spouse?
My husband and I met in an Irish Pub in San Diego when I was in college at UCSD and he was stationed at a SEAL base in Coronado. We were both out with friends to watch the infamous Irish singer who was performing live that night. He asked for my number (after asking me my MCAT score), and we’ve been married for over 10 years!
Favorite vacation spot or recreational activity?
My favorite vacation spot is this remote area of Maui that my family and I used to visit once a year. It is so peaceful and relaxing, and my brother and sister and I have so many childhood memories on the beach.
Most admired person, and why?
I admire my husband for his courage, determination, and brilliance. I admire my mom for her unconditional love, her devotion to family, and her uncanny ability to always make a house a home.
Best advice anyone ever gave you?
My grandfather, a retired Navy captain, told me that life is a journey – not a destination. His words remind me to enjoy the little moments along the way and to focus on the process as well as the outcome.
What about you would surprise us?
I sang first soprano in the La Jolla Symphony Chorus for 7 years during college and medical school, and I performed in various venues with the La Jolla Symphony and the San Diego Symphony. I still love to sing, although my audience is now my children and not crowded performing arts centers.
Filed Under: Fellow Profiles