Name: Elizabeth Okafor
Graduating Class: Class of 2025 (MD/PhD)
Undergraduate school attended and major: University of Missouri-Columbia; B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Romance Language and Literature (concentration in French).
Languages spoken: English, French, and a little Portuguese!
Favorite activities to do in the Twin Cities: My favorite activities include relaxing with a good book, weekend brunch with the girls, and visiting coffee shops.
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota Medical School and what do you like about it?
I chose UMN because of the institution's commitment to infectious diseases and global health, both in the realm of research and medical training. Several mentors of mine received their training at Minnesota and spoke highly of the program. Combining the training opportunities available to me and recommendations from mentors I trust solidified my decision to attend UMN.
What would you change (areas of development) about the University of Minnesota Medical School?
Because representation was such a huge part of cultivating my sense of self and my passion for science, I think the university needs to increase the resources designated to recruiting diverse faculty (e.g. inviting physicians and physician-scientists from HBCUs or minority serving institutions as guest lecturers) and retention programs (e.g. concrete pathways towards tenure for these early career faculty...).
Have you participated in any student organizations? If so, why did you select those organizations and what has been your experience?
I have participated as a mentor for SNMA for four years. I really enjoy engaging with undergraduates and being able to make the journey to medical school or MSTP training easier. I have also participated in the Infectious Diseases interest group. Through the MSTP, I participate in the Diversity and Inclusion Committee's mentorship program for undergraduates, as well as the Student Admissions and Recruitment Committee (SARC). I selected these organizations because mentoring students, increasing the diversity of the medical student body, and infectious diseases and global health are all initiatives and fields I am passionate about!