The WCBD Blog
"The paradox of education is precisely this - that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated." - James Baldwin
We introduced you all to what it means to be a WCBD Ambassador a few months ago. Now, the WCBD Ambassadors program has fully taken off! It's been only a few short months since we announced this opportunity to get involved with WCBD, and already over 50 students across 14 states have signed up to reach out and inspire the next generation. We have two ongoing pilots- one is at the undergraduate level, with medical students visiting colleges in their area to talk to pre-meds about everything from what to major in to how to spend a gap year.
The other pilot is taking place at the middle and high school level, in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Ambassadors from Wake Forest University School of Medicine made their pre-med advising outreach an initiative run by their Student National Medical Association chapter. We interviewed Christel Wekon-Kemeni, a third-year medical student who has taken on a major leadership role in executing this initiative. Christel first reached out to us after an introduction at the annual National Medical Association meeting. His simple question was how to get his SNMA chapter involved in the community as Ambassadors. 40+ emails later, they've already conducted four visits to a local middle and high school. We wanted Christel to share a little bit about his experience in organizing these visits, and what it means to be an Ambassador. Check out the interview below, and if you're interested in joining our undergraduate pilots, sign up to be an Ambassador today!
Christel where are you from, and where'd you go to college?
I'm from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia- cities of Norfolk and Chesapeake specifically. And, I attended the University of Miami for college. Go Canes!!
Why did you want to get involved in the WCBD Ambassadors Program?
I decided to get involved with the WCBD Ambassadors Program because I understand how important and powerful it is to see someone who looks like you in a position that you would like to be in. Representation really does matter, and it can have a huge influence on what people decide to do with their lives. Although I was fortunate enough to know that I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare ever since high school, I still wish that I had the opportunity to have Black medical students come and talk to us when I was in high school. I say that because it would have not only given me even more ambition and drive to succeed, but it would have also provided a good amount of hope to me and my fellow classmates, some of whom never even considered a career in medicine as a possibility for themselves. With that said, I wanted to play an active role in engaging with students who want to establish successful careers in whatever they choose to pursue, as well as with students who don’t even realize how possible it is to pursue a career in healthcare. I also have an unrelenting desire to inspire individuals to become the best version of themselves that they can be. So, this program perfectly aligns with my own personal mission!
What was the most challenging part of being the lead organizer for your school's participation in the Ambassador Program?
As a third-year medical student, I don’t have nearly as much free time as I had in my first two years of med school. It doesn’t help that I tend to commit myself to multiple responsibilities at a time either. So with that said, I think that the most challenging part of being the lead organizer for my school’s participation in this program is having to coordinate presentation times between the schools and the student presenters while staying engaged in my clinical rotations and preparing for my shelf exams. Coordinating presentation times is a dynamic process that involves keeping the schedules of multiple people and the school systems in consideration and finding free time within each of their schedules in order to allow for a presentation to occur. Thank God for Doodle! However, having a supportive group of students who are willing to be flexible in their schedules in order to help promote this mission makes the job a whole lot easier!
What advice/encouragement do you have for other medical students who want to be WCBD Ambassadors?
Being a WCBD Ambassador has been a really rewarding opportunity! It allows you to interact with students who aspire to be in the shoes that you currently occupy and really forces you to put certain things into perspective. Talking with these bright-eyed hopeful students reminds you of where you once were early on in your journey towards a career in medicine and they end up motivating you to continue working towards your own vision of success. The best part about this whole program is that it really isn’t a hard thing to do! Plus, the WCBD founders are a great bunch of people and are more than willing to serve as a helpful resource for the advancement of this program at your institution. I definitely recommend becoming a WCBD Ambassador if you haven’t done so already!
What Our Supporters Are Saying
During the 2016 Howard University commencement address, President Barack Obama said to the graduates, "Be confident in your Blackness." WCBD is at the forefront of this movement in addition to promoting peak Black Excellence. I could not be more proud yet humbled by rocking this apparel and supporting the overall mission.
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