Celebrating Women’s History Month: Q&A with the American Medical Women’s Association (AMWA) Co-Presidents
Q: What inspired you to pursue leadership of the AUC AMWA chapter?
Sarah (pictured left): I have always been surrounded by amazing and successful women, and I couldn’t be prouder of all the women who are part of our group. My main motivation for being part of AMWA is to strive with other women and succeed together. I love the diversity AMWA has offered as well as building connections and leadership with other women who are in the same boat as me: our end goal is to become a physician.
Being part of AMWA not only motivates me to succeed in school, but also improve women’s health and share ideas with fellow women. I want to be able to represent the things I learn from AMWA in my community.
Arpi (pictured right): I joined AMWA because I was inspired by the group of young women that who were representing AMWA, and I knew I wanted to be part of it. Being co-president with my best friend has been an incredible journey. It's impressive to see a wonderful group develop great ideas that support the AUC and Sint Maarten community.
Q: What has been one of your favorite experiences being part of AMWA and/or as an AUC student in general?
Sarah: Being able to see all of us women come together and be there for each other. It is hard being away from home, but we all stick together. I don’t see the e-board as just an e-board; I see them as my own friends. Being an AUC student has been a great experience for me—the diversity, the different organizations, and the amazing opportunities AUC provides have all been really helpful.
Arpi: My favorite experience in AMWA has been helping Safe Haven, a local women's shelter in Sint Maarten. I knew that I wanted to give back to the community that has become my new home, and I think that volunteering and fundraising for Safe Haven has allowed me to make that connection with the Sint Maarten community.
Any upcoming AMWA events or initiatives that you would like to share?
Sarah: AMWA has been partnering with Safe Haven for as long as I can remember. Last year on Community Action Day, the women of Safe Haven had a spa day and the Pediatric Interest Group (PIG) helped take care of the children. We’re looking forward to continuing to partner with Safe Haven.
Arpi: During the January semester, AMWA has been active with organizing MedTalks, participation in Community Action Day, group submissions to the Research Symposium, and other fundraising events for Safe Haven.
Q: What led you to pursue a career in medicine and come to AUC?
Sarah: I am a first-generation, Muslim American, and pursuing a career in medicine has been everything to my family. My father is a plant manager of a steel factory and my mother is an accountant. They both taught me that your strength is your education, and they worked hard to provide my brothers and me with that. They are my role models and the reason I continue to pursue medicine every day. My fiancé also attended AUC and he has been my role model as well—he always pushes me to be the best I can be. I am thankful to be surrounded by an amazing family who supports me every single day.
Arpi: Funny story! I am Armenian, and my first experience with medicine was when my parents threw me an "Agra Hadig" party (when a baby's first tooth comes in). At this event, they lay down various items that demonstrate the child's future occupation when they pick the item. I ended up choosing a stethoscope, and I think my parents have encouraged my choice from that moment. I was inspired by my own experiences with my grandfather's end-stage Parkinson's battle and was determined to be a part of a community that improved standards of medical care.
Q: What would you tell other women who are considering a career in medicine?
Sarah: I would tell women who are considering medicine to DO IT! It is never too late—we are all in this together. Medical school is no walk in the park as everyone says, but just remember that every day is a step closer to reaching your goal. Since I have been in medical school, the days go faster than you think. Also, find friends who are with you to motivate you. I am thankful I have met friends here who all motivate each other to be the best students and future physicians we can be.
Arpi: You can do anything you set your mind and heart to, especially in medicine! Pursuing a career in medicine is a fruitful and exciting journey. With perseverance and passion, you can become the doctor you always dreamed of becoming. Take that step and make that dream a reality! You got this.
Q: Any last thoughts?
Sarah: Every day is a new day!
Arpi: I'm proud of pursuing a career in medicine. I believe that we all can make our communities safe and healthy places. We think that this begins when we enter residency programs, but the journey starts in medical school!