Doctors Without Borders chapter talks Coronavirus

Kylie Jacobs, Biz & Tech Editor

For many students, trying to find an internship or a job for the summer is hard enough, and adding fears of the coronavirus may double the amount of stress on a student to stay healthy and keep working. The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater student chapter of Doctors without Borders brought in two guest speakers to help alleviate students concerns at their most recent general meeting.

Speaker Sara Nichols is the executive director at Open Arms Free Clinic located in Elkhorn, Wisconsin. She spoke extensively about finding your passion in what you want to do in your life. For her, it was all about changing the world. She spoke about all the trials it took to get her where she is now.

“My journey to get where I am now was a little convoluted … I wanted to be a physician’s assistant. But I didn’t have patient-care experience, I wasn’t even thinking about it,” she said. “But all of my experience that led me up to this, from being a health officer at a Boy’s Scout camp to giving handouts to a one credit class, it was all fascinating.”

In her initial desire to be a PA, she searched for more and more opportunities for patient-care experience. But no matter the amount of patient-care experience Nichols received, it wasn’t enough. Her goal to change the world seemed impossible, but her one last hope became Africa. After spending four months in Africa attempting to ‘change the world,’ she experienced failure after failure and eventually returned home, deciding to attend grad school in Boston.

“One of the first questions they asked were, ‘What do you want to be when you grow up?’ My answer since undergrad was I was going to open up a clinic and just be a connector to people and get them the help they need.”    

Though it took a long while for her to achieve her dream, Nichols eventually was able to get where she wanted to go and encouraged students to do the same. She told the audience to not give up on what they wanted to do.

The second guest speaker was Dawid Maciorowski, who had previously worked as a student with the Ebola Infectious Control team, and was now part of the COVID-19 response team, as well as a researcher at Harvard University.

Maciorowski gave an insight on both the Ebola virus, and what they knew about SARS_CoV-2, known as the coronavirus.

“With my job, I’m in the lab at least twelve hours a day,” he said, “especially with this new little coronavirus coming out, it’s causing us a bit of trouble.”