$300 PRIZE ESSAY WINNER: Brooke Geiser

The intercom crackled, “Paging Dr. Geiser to OR 1”. I prepare myself as I scrub in and the OR nurse announces, “Patient: 65 Male. Fractured Femur. Started an IV to KVO. Anesthesia being administered”. I scan over the patient and I know I will be performing an ORIF, everything comes back naturally. As much as I have done this procedure, I always enter the room as if it’s my first case, there is no room for error. My team works like a fine orchestra playing the most beautiful symphony.

As I operate, I vividly remember a case from medical school. On the first day, I was taught that comfort is the most important. The memories fade away as I hear myself say he can be transported to recovery.

I am exhausted but I love it. I update my patient’s loved one. She is so thankful and seeing her face reminds me of why I do what I do.

I've always loved medicine since I took my first anatomy course. Always curious about what makes things tick, I recognized anatomy was the key that opened the door to so many possibilities.

My beeper goes off and I realize it is just my alarm. At 17, this was my dream, I knew I wanted to be a physician as I sat in my bed with my suture kit. All of this and more makes me want to be a doctor.

$200 PRIZE ESSAY WINNER: Lauren Peralta

Emotionless: that was my first impression of physicians.
With a nurse and pharmacist for parents, medical jargon regularly infiltrated

my household. I soon adopted a medical aspiration. Yet, I could not fully confess that pursuing a medical career was my ambition. My solution: shadowing.

4:30 AM wake up, 5:30 AM breakfast, 6:00 AM departure, 6:45 AM arrival. Such was my morning routine before a 7-hour shift with Dr. Bien. This dispassionate image I had of doctors was shattered as the coffin of a patient wheeled past us. When I asked if this was the hardest part of the job, he responded: “It is. People often don’t realize that being a doctor is emotionally punishing. We are taught in medical school that emotional responses equal impotence. But apathy doesn’t belong in a doctor. We choose this profession because death may end a life, but it doesn’t end the relationship.” The corners of his lips curved up in a sorrowful smile as he recalled every appointment with the deceased patient, from their first introduction to the handshake that was unknowingly their last. And with that smile, my commitment to become a physician was solidified.

$100 PRIZE ESSAY WINNER: Antonia Pavek

White lab coats surrounded me as I grew up. The summer my dad was diagnosed with stage three light chain multiple myeloma consisted of frequent trips to the emergency room and Cancer Center. I watched my dad’s strong personality weaken, his eyes pale, and his smile fade away. Though sometimes painful, my time spent in the hospital introduced me to the world of medicine and the immense care of physicians.

Once I was old enough, I became a junior hospital volunteer to give back to the community that did so much for my family.

Last summer, as part of the Global Pre-Meds program, I was given my very own white lab coat and shadowed a doctor in a government-run Children’s Hospital in the Dominican Republic. I was able to help sick children who had bright personalities and felt grateful for our presence.

I returned to the States with a new perspective and purpose. I learned to find enjoyment in seeing others smile and helping others. I learned what it meant to wear the white lab coat.

Physicians bring hope, care, and light to a world of darkness; I want to dedicate my life to serving humanity as a pediatric oncologist.