Hey, everyone! I’m so excited for this Wednesday’s Woman Crushing It. Sandra is one of the reasons I started this blog. I was inspired by her YouTube channel, where she shares excellent advice to fellow medical students and pre-med students. Her vlogs are such an encouragement when you are lacking motivation. I enjoy her channel, “Black Girl, White Coat,” and I recommend you check it out! You can find it here. You can find her website at blackgirlwhitecoat.org. Hope you enjoy the read!
- Tell me about a bit about yourself.
My name is Sandra Coker, and I am a second-year medical student in Houston, Tx. I graduated from THE Baylor University in 2015 with a BS in Psychology.
- Tell me a fun fact about yourself.
I grew up playing basketball, and I still love all things sports.
- What do you do when you’re not studying?
Probably online shopping, watching Netflix, hanging out with my friends, or talking to my boyfriend.
- Do you consider yourself a non-traditional medical student?
Not really. The only thing I did differently was take a gap year in between Baylor and medical school.
- THE question: why medicine?
Medicine has been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember. From growing up with my mom in the healthcare field to having family friends lose battles with cancer, I was intrigued with the subject and field of medicine for a long time. Apart from personal experiences being a source of inspiration for me, I also fell in love with the thought of one day having the ability to help people in a unique way. To be able to provide life-saving interventions and instill a sense of security and hope in the lives of others is really amazing when you think about it.
- What inspired you to start your YouTube channel?
Black Girl, White Coat came about after a lot of prayer and deep introspection. Ultimately, I felt as though there was so much I didn’t know about medical school or the path to get there. I didn’t have anyone I felt comfortable with to mentor me as a young African American woman pursuing such a prestigious degree. I felt like when I did ask about it or I did ask for advice I either got a “it was hard” response or a very sugarcoated, watered-down version of it all. With BGWC, I seek to offer mentorship and representation while keeping it all the way real at all times. I saw a need, identified it, and allowed God to use me from there!
- Why do you think there is a lack of black women in the field?
Firstly, I don’t think enough Black students (men and women) are being encouraged to pursue the prestigious degrees. Beginning in the middle school and high school ages, it is imperative that we let our Black adolescents know that they too can be the lawyer, the doctor, the dentist, the president, the veterinarian, etc. We have to do better at getting these thoughts of hope engraved in their minds at an early age. Also, there are many of us who lack solid role models who are in the medical field and are willing to reach back to the lower SES communities to give speeches, visit afterschool programs, and work with the kids. It is hard for children to pursue something and feel hopeful about it if they do not have any good example set before them. There are more reasons why we do not see many black women in the medical field, of course, but this issue of the lack of guidance and mentorship for our youth is just the tip of the iceberg.
- What do you think can be done to encourage more minority students to pursue STEM careers in general?
Mentorship programs with individuals who are willing to put in the time to invest in the lives of minority students.
Make sure our minority students are aware of all the opportunities that lay before them when they are in their middle school years. Encourage them that they can be doctors (for example) even if the only doctor they’ve ever seen is an elderly white male at the county hospital. Encourage them that even though we will be presented with our own set of unique challenges, we have already been created to withstand and persevere because we are a resilient bunch.
- What would you say to students who feel discouraged due to their GPA, MCAT score, or some other determining factor?
I am all about chasing your passions and fulfilling your calling. If medicine is what you were called to do, then do not let anyone or anything stand between you and your goals. Things happen, we are not always on the ball, we fall down sometimes, we lose sight of things occasionally, but at the end of the day you’ve got to be able to pick yourself up, recover, and excel. A low GPA can be taken care of with special master’s programs, retaking classes, post-bacc programs, etc. The MCAT can be taken more than once. There are so many opportunities on your medical school application to show your bounce-back ability when you have certain factors that may otherwise hold you back. For more advice and a full conversation on this topic, please do wander over to my YouTube channel and take a look at my Non-Traditonal vlog!
Thanks for visiting my blog! Be sure to check out my other posts. There is more to come soon! Until then be kind and remember tomorrow depends on what you do today. Hope you enjoyed reading! — Taylor ❤