Infectious Diseases Fellow Profile – Stacy Park

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in Germany, but my family moved back to Leesburg, Virginia, when I was six months old, which is where I grew up. I’ve been at UVA for eight years – I came for medical school after completing my undergraduate degree at the College of William and Mary. I liked it so much that I decided to stay for residency and now fellowship! I got married about a year and a half ago and live in town with my husband and our two carnivorous plants (we used to have four…)

What brought you to Charlottesville?
I came for the in-state medical school tuition and stayed for the mountains, Lampo pizza, and variety of craft breweries. And the excellent medical training, of course.

What excites you about your work?
I love the detective work involved in figuring out what’s going on with a lot of the patients we see as infectious disease consultants. Once in a while we get that really great case where some minor detail about the patient tips us off to send the right test and get the diagnosis, which is always fun. Sometimes we learn the most interesting and surprising things about our patients in the process. Also, many infectious diseases respond relatively quickly to treatment and it’s always satisfying to watch patients get better.

Next life?
Cryptologist. Or a dolphin trainer.

What are you usually doing on the weekend?
My husband and I still have a lot of friends and family in the northern Virginia area, where we are both from, so we make quick trips up there frequently to visit. When I’m in town, I’m usually out discovering new hikes in the area, grabbing a beer at a local brewery, playing soccer, or watching shows that everyone else watched five years ago on Netflix.

How did you meet your partner?
We lived on the same freshman hall and were friends throughout college, though we didn’t start dating until after graduation.

What’s one thing you always have in your fridge?
Sparkling water.

Favorite vacation/activity spot?
North Carolina beaches. The exact one has changed several times over the years, but I’ve gone with my family almost every summer for as long as I can remember and have tons of good memories.

Best advice anyone ever gave you?
“Always leave things better than you found them.” ~my mom. She was talking about any room I entered in the house, but it also works for life in general.

What about you would surprise us?
I was born at home and delivered by my dad, an engineer, because the midwife didn’t make it in time.

What is a talent or skill that you don’t have that you wish you did?
Either singing or dancing (well).

Favorite fictional characters?
It’s not very original, but probably Hermione from the Harry Potter series. She’s so clever, passionate, and fiercely loyal to her friends. And, of course, baby Yoda.

What is the last book you read for pleasure?
Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

What’s the most unusual thing you have ever eaten?
I’m not a very adventurous eater, but I did once eat octopus.

Do you collect anything?
Just memories – I don’t like clutter!

What was your first job, how old were you?
I started working as a soccer referee at age 15. I got yelled at plenty… it definitely helped me learn to not take things personally, keep my composure, and defuse tense situations. It paid surprisingly well, and the little kids in particular could be pretty hilarious at times.

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