Inspired from an early age, Ashley Williams’ main career goals are to work within the field of medicine, to “break down barriers that plague underserved populations,” but also to work in medical academia, helping guide students along the path of obtaining a medical degree, much in the same way other health care professionals have done for her. Through the VCU Summer Academic Enrichment Program, Ashley was able to receive this continued support and use the same program to give back to other prospective health professional students.
From the beginning Ashley knew SAEP would challenge her, but also understood the opportunity it would give her as well.
“If I gave this program my all, and the results were favorable, I would not only prove to myself that I could handle the rigor of medical school, but would prove the same fact to the medical schools I was planning on applying to,” Williams remembered.
During SAEP, Ashley found discipline specific experiences, such as work in the gross anatomy lab, were able to confirm her love for her chosen field. However, she also found great benefit and opportunity in being introduced to a large volume of academic coursework before she began medical school, including pharmacology, microbiology, and physiology.
“Knowing I had a level of familiarity with the material left me with the confidence of truly mastering the material in medical school,” Williams said.
Ashley was additionally surprised at how open and genuinely willing to help many of the administrators were in the program. It was this type of motivation and support that not only found Ashley encouraging others to apply to SAEP, but is what brought her back to the program now as a professional student, as an opportunity to mentor other aspiring students.
Now as a second year medical student, Ashley continues on the path she started to becoming a dedicated healthcare professional, inspiring others and fulfilling her dreams.