During her frequent visits to the SUNY Health Science Center last spring, Judly Pierre '99 tried her best to put even the faintest of smiles on the faces of patients enduring rigorous physical therapy sessions. It wasn't always easy, but the experience affirmed her belief that a career in medicine isn't just a career. To be a good physician, one must have a calling.
schmitt shoots!! |
Remembrance Scholar Judly Pierre '99, a biology major, plans to pursue a career in medicine, which will allow her to put her academic talents, work ethic, and compassion for others to good use.
"I learned so much from the doctors there, and from the patients," says Pierre, a biology major and Remembrance Scholar. "It was so sad to see people in those situations, because sometimes they really believed they would not get better. The doctors have to encourage them to keep going. It made me appreciate all that doctors do that really isn't about medicine. They use their personalities to help people do what they need to do for themselves."
Professor Marilyn Kerr, director of the biology department's Health Care Professions Advisory Program, says Pierre often displays a similar aptitude for selflessness both in and out of the classroom. "Helpfulness is her second nature," Kerr says. "I don't know anybody who isn't comfortable asking Judly a question, and she cheerfully helps any student who asks for it. I think her number-one attribute is that she is sincere about helping people." Pierre guides classmates through tough organic chemistry and calculus lessons, but she prefers to downplay her efforts. "It's not like I'm doing any formal tutoring," she says. "It's more like I try to help other students figure things out on their own. Sometimes I'm the one learning from them. They may show me a way to solve a problem I hadn't thought of before."
For as long as she can remember, Pierre has wanted to be a doctor. She was initially interested in pediatrics, but has since decided to specialize in gynecology. In particular, she would like to provide care to at-risk young mothers. "Growing up in Brooklyn, I realized a lot of young women have nowhere to go and are not getting proper prenatal care," Pierre says. "I felt that was where I could make the biggest impact as a doctor."
Kerr says Pierre has academic ability, a strong work ethic, and solid social skillsimportant makings of a good doctor. Her gentle demeanor does not convey shyness, but an inviting calm that puts those she meets at ease. "Those are the kinds of students you want to see going into medicine," Kerr says.
While Pierre hopes to attend medical school in New York City, she is grateful for her years in Syracuse. "I left the city because it was all I knew," Pierre says. "The best part about coming here was the opportunity to be on my own and find out who I am. Now I'm ready to go back."
Pierre says her family has always been a strong source of support. Her parents emigrated from Haiti before she was born and the family maintains many Haitian traditions that Pierre proudly embraces. Since the SU community includes a sizable Haitian population, Pierre has found plenty of opportunities to celebrate her ancestry. She is a member of the Haitian American Students' Association, the Caribbean Student Association, and the Latino Dance Troupe. "I consider myself Haitian American," she says. "Many times I even think in Creole. I know people who try very hard to downplay their ancestry, but for me, maintaining those cultural traditions is important. If I am blessed with children, I will pass on those traditions."
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