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Saturday, February 16, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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A Love Letter to the Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine

Rosie Morrow Okon (Courtesy Washington State University's Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine)
Rosie Morrow Okon (Courtesy Washington State University's Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine)

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As the first year of medical school comes to a close in the weeks ahead, I can’t help but reflect on what an incredible year this has been. There are so many people, experiences, and opportunities here to celebrate that the only way to express the emotion of this first year is to offer a letter of appreciation and love for this community.

To my classmates – I am constantly in awe of you. Your past experiences have instilled in you a deep well of compassion, and your current activities are not only focused on excelling academically, but creating and sustaining positive change in all that you do.

I am amazed at the way you spread encouragement and enthusiasm. Despite your heavy academic loads, you make time to volunteer in high schools, at shelters, and with community organizations. You create opportunities in our curriculum for everything from training with ultrasound to starting up a mobile clinic to serve the people of Spokane.

You bring in homemade cider and cheesecake on days when we need a pick-me-up. You can always be counted on for a cup of coffee or a kind word or a supportive hug. You are on committees focused on rural health, on dementia, on refugee care, and countless other topics. You spend your free time planning events for potential applicants to our school, translating medical guides into Spanish, running student interest groups on campus, and writing grants for research projects. I am grateful to be learning from you and alongside you.

To my professors and faculty members – the way you care for us has made this campus feel like home. Your passion and enthusiasm for teaching provides wonderful motivation for us even with the most difficult topics. The environment of curiosity you have fostered makes us eager to ask questions, seek guidance, and challenge ourselves to push past surface memorization to gain deeper understanding of the mysteries of the human body. Learning from you is a privilege and a joy.

To the people of Washington – thank you for being our teachers and supporters. The trust that patients have placed in new medical students has given us priceless learning opportunities. The encouragement shown to us by physicians around the state who have welcomed us to witness their work has taught us in ways beyond what textbooks can cover.

As first-year students, we have been on ride-along medical air flights to gain first-hand experience in the complexities of pre-hospital care. We have been invited to lectures at other schools and from community health partners.

We have been supported by scholarships and donations from businesses and private donors. We have been invited into homes in Everett, Tri-Cities and Vancouver when working with doctors at our other campuses.

It’s hard to put into words how fortunate I am to be here, and how thankful I am to be part of this family. But I can definitively say how excited I am to see what our second year brings, and that I cannot imagine taking this wild ride with anyone else.

This article is part of an ongoing series of stories focusing on Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, written by the medical students themselves. For more information visit
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