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Alumni Spotlight: Stephanie Rosborough ’91

Stephanie Rosborough ’91 holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Harvard University and a medical degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Raised in rural Alabama, she now works in Boston as an international emergency medicine fellow, travelling as far as Nepal and Ethiopia. Her work centers on providing aid after natural disasters and warfare, such as developing an emergency skills curriculum for the Palestinian region. Were you planning on studying medicine all along? I was still interested in science, so my mother talked to our town’s family doctor, the only one in our town, so naturally my doctor as well, and he offered to let me spend the night in his clinic. It served as a local emergency room, hospital, everything really. I walked out the next morning thinking this was great, what he did, and knowing this is what I wanted to do. It was the only decision I never had to make. What motivates you to do what you do? The thing that’s really at the heart of my motivation is that I love doing what I do. I’ve been so lucky in my life to have the opportunity to do exactly what I want, really since I’ve gone to Andover… It’s led me to a place where if you asked me at Andover what I wanted to do, it’d be exactly what I do now. It’s having the internal passion for the work. Being a doctor, especially in an emergency setting, when you get the chance to go abroad and see what people need, it’s easy to find personal fulfillment. What was it like being a one-year senior? There was a ramp-up period in there, but I was surprised to how well-received I was. I have to give a lot of credit to my roommates in Smith House. It was a little dorm in Flagstaff with about 12 girls. So everyone else had decided to block there together, they all knew each other, all 4 year seniors, but they were so nice to me and really involved me in all their activities. I couldn’t believe it. They almost saved my life that winter. I remember I didn’t have a warm coat, being from Alabama, so they said, “You need to go to LLB.” I was like, “What’s LLB?” And they took out a catalog for me and circled everything I’d need. Do you think the diversity at PA encouraged you to work internationally as an adult? Absolutely. 47 countries. We had students from 47 countries, I still remember. One of the things I was really looking forward to was to meet people from very different backgrounds. My roommate, in fact, was Japanese. I was the only one in International Club who was not international. Everyone was from France and Germany and Saudi Arabia and the teacher was very surprised when I said, “Alabama.” What aspect of PA stuck with you most? There was a lot…Search and Rescue, among other things. It made an impact on how I thought wilderness medicine should be done. I used a lot of S&R skills in my international work. The knots I learned how to tie helped me set a woman’s thighbone in Pakistan. What’s the most exotic situation you’ve ever been faced with? One of the weirdest medical things I’ve ever had to work with was in Madagascar. I was traveling there for personal reasons, and this guy was attacked by a lemur. A lemur just swooped down and scratched his face. So here we are in the back of the beyond, there’s no hospital, and I just tried to do what I could. If there was one aspect of PA you could choose to preserve, without change, for future classes, what would it be? Conference period…. It was my first experience where I could ask a question and get some real advice. It really solidified relationships and mentoring in a way that I had never seen before at my public school. It teaches people to really reach out and make connections. A lot of people who end up at Andover are at the top of the class, cream of the crop, they feel they have to be very academic and that getting the best grades is the most important thing. Absolutely, work as hard as you need to work to get those 6’s, but realize that at least half of your schoolwork is to be socializing and immersing yourself in the soup of new ideas that Andover provides. If you reach out to the PA community, your education will be five times richer. It’s not all in the books, and if you have your nose in a book for four years you’re going to miss it. – Tiffany Li ’09