My name is Angel Lightner, and I am a 23 year old student, finishing my bachelors degree in Micro/Molecular Biology at Portland State University this Spring. In August, I will be starting my first year of medical school at Pacific Northwest University. PNWU is a school for Osteopathic Medicine, where I will be training to become a physician, but in an environment emphasizing the importance of holistic care, and primary care, especially in rural areas of the Northwest.
I started volunteering regularly 3 years ago. These are a few of my longer-term, or unique experiences that I’d like to share:
Doernbechers Pediatric Oncology/Hematology & Intermediate Care
I volunteered at OHSU Doernbechers Children’s Hospital with infants/children suffering from cancer, blood disorders, or other infections/diseases that kept them in the hospital for periods of time.
Clinical Research Investigative Studies Program
OHSU has one of the two level-1 trauma centers in Oregon. I helped collect data for research studies regarding patients chief complaints for OHSU and the CDC. Working in the ER opened my eyes to the importance of primary care as preventative medicine.
I travelled to Panama with other PSU students for a medical and environmental sustainability brigade, where we treated and educated 500 villagers. GB is a world-wide, non-secular, student run organization, established in Panama, Ghana, and Honduras, providing 9 different services in these countries (architecture, business, dental, environmental, human rights, medical, micro finance, public health, and water). While in Panama, our PSU brigade worked alongside brigades from Canada, UCSF, UCIrvine, and England.
As a volunteer, you can go on brigades, or obtain a job with GB in the US or in the three countries, helping to mentor brigades that come in-and-out of the community all year.
Parkrose High School
Besides medicine, another passion of mine is working with teens. Being a teenager is such a vulnerable time in life, and I found that mentoring students about their educational or personal lives was very rewarding. I worked with PHS for 2 Springs, the first where I worked in classrooms and tutored students, and conducted a survey about the tutoring center, and ways to enhance it for student use. The second year, I helped chaperone weekend field trips of students in the AVID program (students who are first generation college bound students), worked in the classrooms and in the tutor center, and also spoke to 4 classrooms of AVID students about my more ‘rough’ experiences as a teenager and how I came to be where I am today.
My goal in life is to help others live life to their full potential. In my future career as a physician, I hope to be a role-model and educator in the community about health, and lifestyle. I’d like to also continue serving abroad, as going to Panama taught me a lot about the beauties of living in simplicity. Along the way, I hope to continue integrating serving the under-served populations, both in healthcare, but also in other social aspects. Life has a way of getting busy, but just like anything important, appropriate commitments will be made! I sincerely believe that if more individuals in the community worked closer together, there would be less social separation. For me, helping others, no matter how big or how small, cultivates a feeling of purpose and appreciation of life that is truly priceless. I could see this enhancing society as a whole, if everyone had the time or opportunity to serve others. I will always make time for others, and it is a life-changing and learning experience.
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and passion come together.”
I hope you all find and pursue your passions, regardless if they are related to or completely separate from your careers. Always remember that your work is extremely appreciated.
Question: How do we encourage others to become more active in the community?