Image by Hans Reniers

Interviews

Dr. John Kauffman

Computer Science, Robotics, and Applications Teacher

Dr. Rosemarie Rose

Family Physician, Integrative and Functional Medicine

Dr. Allison Lax

Diagnostic Radiologist and Musculoskeletal Imaging Specialist

Dr. John Kauffman

Question:

How would you describe your career?

Question:

When did you know you wanted to pursue this career?

Question:

Did you always want to pursue the career you are involved with now?

Question:

What classes did you take in high school that helped direct you towards your career?

Question:

What were the degrees you received after graduating from high school?

Question:

What are some challenges or difficulties you faced leading up to your career?

Answer:

"I teach people how to use software, write programs and build robots."

Answer:

"My father was a chemist and we had a good lab in our basement. So growing up, I always knew I wanted to be a scientist. But I had not considered computer science."

Answer:

"No. Five years into my career as a molecular geneticist, I married a diplomat and moved to Africa. So I had to figure out a new path where I could work independently of a lab. That was about the time personal computers became available. Using my scientific analytical abilities, I was able to pick up programming techniques without much trouble."

Answer:

"I took all the science courses my high school offered. In the summer I took extra courses in science and the arts. I did not always get good grades, but I did take every course I could."

Answer:

"BS (bachelor's degree in science) for Biology and BS (bachelor's degree in science) for Environmental Resource Management and [many certificates for taking] five courses for Virginia teacher certification."

Answer:

"It is hard to balance getting practical experience with time for doing well in exams. The field of Biology and Computer Science underwent great shifts as I was entering the job market. It is difficult to balance time between your career, your family and yourself. The closer you can bring some of those into alignment, the easier it will be."

Dr. Rosemarie Rose

Question:

How would you describe your career?

Question:

When did you know you wanted to pursue this career?

Question:

Did you always want to pursue the career you are involved with now?

Question:

What classes did you take in high school that helped direct you towards your career?

Question:

What were the degrees you received after graduating from high school?

Question:

What are some challenges or difficulties you faced leading up to your career?

Answer:

"My career has been adaptive to the circumstances of my life and the changes occurring in health care over the 32 years I have been training for or practicing medicine. As changes in life circumstances and in the practice of medicine occurred, I made several pivots over several years to work toward[s] the kind of medical practice I felt was best for my family, my patients, and myself."

Answer:

"At 3 different times I knew that I wanted to pursue medicine as a career. My father was a general practitioner and at a young age I decided that I, too, would become a doctor, My conviction to practice medicine faltered twice. Once in my early college years when I took 'flunk out' courses and didn't flunk, but didn't do well; another time after 7-8 years of practice when managed care was emerging and I felt like I was a 'licensed drug dealer' just writing prescriptions all day long, my practice hemmed in by guidelines and what was called 'cookbook medicine'. Both times I was able to re-direct my course back to medicine after stepping out of the field for a while. In college, I changed majors to journalism. After graduation I went to law school. After completing that and finding I did not have it in my heart to get paid to argue all day, I went back to college part time to complete the pre-med courses. With new conviction, and at a university that had academic support for students instead of a 'flunk out' attitude, I excelled at the prerequisites."

Answer:

"I have considered writing/journalism and law as careers. It turned out I had a real distaste for practicing law. Writing, I enjoy but was never confident enough, or perhaps self-disciplined enough, to commit to pursuing it as a career. I enjoy writing an occasional essay and have a dream of a book in my head, but it is a pastime, not a career."

Answer:

"High school in the early 1970s was very different than it is now. There was no STEM concentration, no classes where you could explore or invent. So I took Chemistry, Biology, Trigonometry, [and] Calculus. I was in Honors classes: I don't think there were AP Science classes in my school at that time. But I also took high level French, AP English, and was involved in Band, the school newspaper and [the] annual. Even in the [19]70s, it was important to have wider interests than just science and [to] be able to present yourself as [a] 3-dimensional being, not just someone who can get good grades in science or math classes."

Answer:

"Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, Doctor of Jurisprudence (Law degree), Doctor of Medicine, [and] additional credentials in Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Acupuncture."

Answer:

"In retrospect, my high school classes were not as rigorous as they could have been to adequately prepare me for university level courses. I did not take advantage of tutoring or support services within the science departments until later in my educational career. I also never sought out mentors. Now, there are many organizations promoting role models and mentorships. I was never aware of those when I was entering medicine. All along the way, I was burdened by the idea that there was one way to accomplish what I saw as my goal. It took a long time to shed that one-path idea. I had to learn how to be comfortable with uncertainty, follow my heart and do my best. My actual career path demonstrates that there are many ways to arrive at your destination, and that the destination may not be what you thought it was in the first place. It's all about the journey."

Dr. Allison Lax

Question:

How would you describe your career?

Answer:

"I am a Diagnostic Radiologist with a specialty in Musculoskeletal Imaging. I am the Chief of Musculoskeletal Imaging in the Department of Radiology at Medstar Georgetown University Hospital and an Associate Professor of Clinical Radiology at Georgetown Medical School. The majority of my work consists of interpreting x-rays, CT scans and MRIs as well as performing minor procedures. I also spend time teaching medical students and residents in the hospital as well as performing some administrative duties for my department."

Question:

When did you know you wanted to pursue this career?

Answer:

"I did not decide to pursue a career in medicine until a few years after I graduated from college. Once I was in medical school I chose to do my residency in Diagnostic Radiology in my final year. Towards the end of my Radiology residency, I decided to do a fellowship specializing in Musculoskeletal Imaging. After my fellowship, I took a job in a hospital based academic practice and since then I have enjoyed working in this type of practice doing both clinical work, taking care of patients, and teaching trainees."

Question:

Did you always want to pursue the career you are involved with now?

Answer:

"No, not at all! In college, I did a double major in Psychology and french and I envisioned getting a PhD in Psychology. After college I was planning on taking a job as a research assistant in a psychiatric facility but decided at the last minute that I did not want to do that. I needed a job though, so I decided to work as a legal assistant for a corporate law practice in Manhattan while I figured things out. I quickly realized that I was not really interested in law or finance. My sister was already in medical school and I started thinking that maybe it would be a good career for me as well. So I did an additional year of undergraduate courses in order to get my prerequisites for medical school and also spent a year as a research assistant in Oncology before starting medical school." 

Question:

What classes did you take in high school that helped direct you towards your career?

Answer:

"I graduated from high school in 1987 and back then there were not as many options as you have now! However, I did take AP Biology. I also took Physics and Chemistry, but these were not AP and I am not sure if they were even Honors classes. I was placed in the Honors Math classes but I was a solid math student and did not struggle. To be honest though, I did not see myself as a 'math/science kid' and really did not focus on these subjects. I loved English, Social Studies and foreign language (I took both French and Spanish). I loved to read and write. I cared a lot about school and getting good grades. My high school classes prepared me well for my college classes which were all in the humanities but it was definitely challenging to go back later and take the college classes that I needed in order to apply to medical school (Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, Physics)."

Question:

What were the degrees you received after graduating from high school?

Question:

What are some challenges or difficulties you faced leading up to your career?

Answer:

"After graduating from high school, I received a BA (Bachelors of Arts) in Psychology and french from Middlebury College and then an MD from Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University."

Answer:

"One of the biggest challenges that I encountered after college and before applying to medical school was the way in which random people would be dismissive of my aspirations and say that getting into medical school and being a doctor was hard. It would make me worried about not achieving my goals and not being 'successful'. Luckily, my family was very supportive and encouraging, but I still had to tune out the other negative voices around me. I had to remember that I was a good student and a hard worker. I would think"why not me?" As I have gotten older, I realize that you have to find out your own inner strength and resilience and that you can't worry so much about what other people are thinking and saying about you. I have also realized that you need to use your judgement and do your best and that even if you make a mistake - most mistakes can be fixe. Don't ever be afraid to try something because you are afraid that you might fail!"