Medical Speech: My Journey Into Medical Research

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For thirteen years, I heard, "What we keep we lose; only what we give remains our own.", the mission statement of St.Catherine's School in Richmond, Virginia, and these words float around in my mind each time I am introduced to an audience to speak about my journey into medical research.

High school science teacher: Good morning, today we are pleased to welcome Dr. Ava Fuller. Dr. Fuller holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology, and her area of research focuses on the causes and symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. Dr. Fuller’s interest in biology piqued when she was in sixth grade upon viewing a single-celled organism wiggling under a microscope. Five years later, while sitting in an honors-level biology class, much like this one, her intrigue grew. She says that
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Johnson’s everyday tasks, she took me to the campus lab. Once there, I plated different bacteria for her classes’ next experiment. Less than twenty-four hours later, I returned to key in more data and to see the growth of what I had plated.

That job shadowing experience gave me preparation for my next two years of high school biology classes where we used some of the same techniques and tools. Moreover, it solidified my choice to pursue a medical research career.

To achieve my goal, I planned to earn a Ph.D. Although, after talking with a friend’s dad about his work as an oncologist, I learned he has a Ph.D. and an MD. And I became conflicted about whether just a Ph.D. would be enough. Interestingly, my friend’s father said he spent his time doing cancer research half of the week, and the other half with patients who have different forms of cancer. Like my friend’s father, I thought I might want to see patients and witness first hand whether the treatments I developed would be useful or not. To add to my dilemma, I remembered that one of the scientists that I shadowed, Dr. Jennifer Fettweis, has a Ph.D. and she directed two major biological research

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