Today, I thought I would look back on all of the individuals who have helped shaped my professional career. There are way more than 7 people that I could add to this list, but when I think of those that have helped me to get to where I am now, these are the individuals who have significantly shaped me:
1. Mrs. Watson - my 6th grade English teacher. I was a new kid at a new school, coming off of my worst quarter of school ever. (My first quarter of 6 grade, I failed English, received two Ds, and Cs in the rest. This came on the heals of a particularly difficult time at home.) Ms. Watson took me under her wing. She was unfazed by the fact that I came to her class having failed the previous quarter. I have her to thank for my love of Shel Silverstein and for the courage to get up in front of the class and recite, "I Cannot Go to School today". I will never forget her unwavering belief in me.
2. Mrs. Lieske - guidance counselor in middle and high school. She saw a troubled kid and gave the kid the confidence to be the type of student everyone but the kid knew she could be.
3. My mom, of course - if she hadn't told me when I graduated from high school that I wasn't going to spend the summer sitting on my ass, that I needed to find something to do, I would have never found myself volunteering at Hopkins and putting myself in a position to start my career
4. Joy- from a few days volunteering with her for ECOG, she came down to Radiation Oncology and told me she had a job for me in clinical research - umm, what is clinical research? I learned so much from her, not only about clinical research, but about being myself and not allowing anything get in the way of that.
5. Skip - from the first of many freak outs when he looked at me with those calm eyes of his and asked me if I could control the situation to his encouragement to grow, to take on more responsibility and gave me the confidence to know I could do it.
6. Serina - what can I say about Serina. She's my girl. One of the hardest things about leaving Hopkins was not seeing Serina everyday. I not only have her to thank for the encouragements in my career, but I never would have gone out on a second date with Stew without her.
7. Stew - with his love and encouragement, I finished my degree, took a job traveling all over the country and his calming words when I think the world is caving in - and those are only a few reasons I feel incredibly blessed and thankful!
There are so many other people: Michele (without whom I would have never been introduced to Joy); Mike (who gave me another chance during one of the darkest hours of my life); Patti (who took a chance on a young volunteer); Kathryn (without whom I would have never gone back to school); Janice (all of the love and confidence she gave me, really a mom to me after I lost mine); Rachel (I had to get to work somehow!); Dina, Avery, Rana, Monica, Penny, Vivian, Judy and all of the other nurses over the years who taught me, supported me and became friends. The PIs I've worked with, all of whom taught me something about life as well as this vast realm of clinical research - and I'm sure there are others that I've missed and I apologize for that. To everyone who has taken the time to encourage and support me in this career that I love - I thank you!
And I have to say - to the patients that volunteer for clinical studies - you really are the heart of all of this. Without your participation, we wouldn't have been able to learn all that we have or continue to learn all that we can so that we can make future treatments better!