I was born in a small town in South Georgia to a mother that is a nurse, and a father who is a general surgeon. Growing up my father was the only general surgeon within a 40 mile radius of our small town. One week out of the year they would bring in a locum and we would take a family vacation. Otherwise he was always on call. That being said, I grew up in a hospital if I wanted to spend time with my parents - I went to work with them. I loved every minute of it, I cannot remember any time in my life not wanting to grow up and be a surgeon just like my father.
My younger life was dominated by athletics. I lettered in varsity tennis, fast pitch softball, cross-country, and basketball. I ended up attending college on a full basketball scholarship allowing me the opportunity to excel athletically and academically. After college, my plan was always to attend medical school and return to rural South Georgia to practice general surgery. I chose a residency program with extremely high volume to prepare me to possibly be practicing solo one day. At the beginning of the fourth year of residency, I did a colorectal surgery rotation. Here I found a niche for myself, where I could do some general surgery but have a more focused practice. I found that I really enjoyed operating in the pelvis and enjoyed the continuity of care that it offered.
Having not planned to do a fellowship, I was worried during residency that I would not be able to match into such a competitive field. I interviewed with as many programs as I could, and was able to match at one of the top colorectal programs in the country. For the first time, I was in an academic program and discovered that I really enjoyed teaching the residents. After this realization, I started to search the surrounding area for academic programs that may need a colorectal surgeon. To my delight I discovered that the University of Toledo did not have a colorectal surgeon on staff. Initially I sent an email to the chair of surgery trying to convince him that he needs me in his program. Initially I did not get a response, but after hounding a few of the equipment reps to put in a good word and multiple phone calls, he finally agreed to give me an interview. A week later he offered me a job.
Though this is never where I thought I would be - teaching residents and students in an academic center as a colorectal trained attending – but I cannot imagine doing anything else. I love where I work, the people I work with, the students and residents, and everything about the small academic center. This was definitely the path that I was meant to take.