scholarshipDear Scholarship Board,

I am writing this letter from my new house in California. Last week I graduated from medical school and I will be starting my family medicine residency tomorrow. I could not be more excited (although, I admit a little nervous to be an actual doctor).  The past few days have been a wonderful time of reflection for me as I closed a chapter of my life with regards to school, with moving to a new place, and with starting a new adventure. I feel incredibly blessed for the family, friends and community that have supported my along this challenging and rewarding journey. The scholarship has had such an impact on my education because it has kept me connected the church and Manitou community and helped me feel supported and encouraged.

This past year has been an interesting mix of relaxation, big decisions, and waiting for large changes. Fourth year of medical school is mostly centered on choosing a residency program and then interviewing and deciding where you would like to end up. I did two rotations last summer an OB rotation and a family medicine rotation which were intense but I learned so much. I decided that family medicine combined so many things that I love about medicine with the perspective that I hoped to use as a physician. I love the variety of family medicine—I might see a child in the morning, a pregnant woman in the afternoon, or an adult with diabetes all in one day. More than that, the family medicine perspective focuses on the entire person and how their outside life (family or money stress, education, access to healthcare) might affect that short doctors visit. This specialty works toward health and wellness for individuals as well as communities. I don’t know exactly what I want to do in the future with family medicine but it has many options and I love this perspective of patient care.

So I set off to interview across the country after I made my specialty decision. I went on twelve interviews in 4 states. It was quite an adventure to see different areas of the country and see what different programs had to offer. I found myself happiest in California and thought it would be good to have an adventure outside of Colorado for a few years in case I want to return to practice later on. We are matched into residency and I was very fortunate to get my top choice!

Another opportunity that I had was to return to Kenya in January and February. I got to continue my previous research on HIV. It was amazing to see friends, continue a project I am excited about and learn so much more about HIV treatment in Kenya. I felt incredibly fortunate to have this chance and really enjoyed my trip. Being in Kenya refocuses my passion on serving the underserved. It also gets me excited about the potential to mentor or teach Kenyan healthcare providers in the future because my mentor does great work and has really helped many of my Kenyan colleagues advance their careers and have more opportunities.

This year has been interesting because since September all of my efforts have gone into preparing for residency but there is a lot of waiting and different steps involved. I have really enjoyed having this time to refocus and to relax. I tried to spend time with friends and family, reflect and journal and cook and exercise because I have to take advantage of having free time since it will be limited over the next few years. Even so, I am excited that residency is actually here and I will really get to start because it has been in the works for so long.

I feel so grateful to the church. The financial support has made such a big difference for me. And the extra things like the care packages really made my day. Thank you so much for all that you have done for me. I appreciate it so much.

Sincerely,

Abby Nimz

June 15, 2016