When Erica Dwyer ’15 was a first-year boarding student at The Hun School, she self- diagnosed her appendicitis. The diagnosis was confirmed within the hour at University Medical Center of Princeton. It was neither Erica’s first trip to the Emergency Room nor her last. During her four years at The Hun School, Erica earned twelve varsity letters and has a few bumps, bruises, and scars to prove it. Throughout her medical trials, she discovered something unexpected about hospitals – she “likes the atmosphere.”
She is now pursuing a career in medicine, sparked by a freshman year honors biology class at Hun and her fascination with emergency care. Grade Level Dean and Science Department faculty member Vivian Piel was not surprised when Erica enrolled in both Advanced Placement Biology and Human Anatomy and Physiology [HAP] during her senior year, or when she focused her senior Capstone Experience on learning more about becoming a cardiologist.
“Erica showed an enthusiasm for our heart unit, particularly during dissections and a video conference, Live from the Heart, with Advocate Christ Medical Center during a live open-heart surgery,” said Ms. Piel who advised Erica’s project and instructed her in HAP.
The live surgical procedure proved to be a critical moment for Erica. Going into it, she had reservations about how she might respond to the graphic nature of the experience. However, after attending, her confidence grew.
To further explore her interest, Erica worked with Medicor Cardiology in Hillsborough, New Jersey and Bridgewater, New Jersey during a two-week long Capstone Experience. There, she worked alongside cardiologists, was invited into examination rooms, and with permission from patients, was able to review patient files to understand how the doctors prescribed treatments.
“I learned so much during my Capstone,” said Erica. “It was really stressful because I felt responsible for holding myself to the standard of the doctors I worked with,” said Erica. “But it was a great experience to see what goes on at a private practice. And one of the things that I now realize makes a good doctor, is being a good listener.”
Erica is a student at Bryn Mawr College, where she is enrolled in their STEM program.
She intends to focus her undergraduate course work in the sciences, in preparation for medical school and eventually a cardiology or surgical residency.
The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school. Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.