The South Colonie CSD recently announced that it would introduce its Alumni Series this month. The featured series will offer in-depth Q&A, storytelling and article features, while keeping you up-to-date on past students, faculty and staff. From athletic triumphs, professional and personal successes to special achievements and leadership recognition, we’ll work to bring you their stories.
At South Colonie, we’re not just proud of our current students but our alumni as well. If you know of a former student(s) who are accomplishing great things academically, professionally or is making an impact in the community – – we want to know! Please submit or nominate an alum or share your ideas and suggestions to the Communications Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As part of our Alumni Series, we would like to introduce you to Class of 2012 graduate Dr. Kristy Wilkinson, MD. Learn how she was impacted by her experiences, challenges and teachers at South Colonie CSD. See where and how she’s achieving her goals as an alumnus in our community.
Learn all of the details in today’s Q&A with Dr. Wilkinson.
How did South Colonie prepare you for college? What classes or specific teachers led you to the direction of your career?
South Colonie prepared me from the ground up. I built a strong foundation, a love for learning, and the desire to keep challenging myself. All my teachers were so enthusiastic about what they taught, which translated into a strong desire to learn. If you were to ask my mother this question, she would undoubtedly say that I blossomed in Mrs. Bushey’s fourth grade class. I fell in love with reading that year, which continues to be one of my great loves. I was excited about learning and was eager to succeed. Once in middle school, there were opportunities to take more advanced classes like mathematics. Being challenged early on encouraged me to continue challenging myself at the high school level. The most invaluable class for me was AP Biology with Mr. Goldberg. The subject itself was fascinating to me, someone who wanted to pursue a career in science, but the true asset of this class was Mr. Goldberg himself. He always challenged us one step beyond what any of us thought we could accomplish or learn. He did not “teach down” to us, but rather taught us how to learn at a higher level. That specifically was what prepared me for college.
As a physician, how does it feel to practice medicine in your community?
I am thrilled to be a pediatrician in the Albany community. When I was interviewing for residency programs, I considered moving south or at least experiencing another community outside of Albany. After interviewing in roughly fifteen different cities, I realized that what mattered most to me was serving a community I care for and being surrounded by a strong support system. I have all of that here in Albany and could not be happier that I decided to stay. It is really special to be able to provide comprehensive pediatric care to the kids of the Greater Capital Region and beyond. I especially enjoy meeting patients who go to South Colonie!
What attracted you to medicine?
As a child and young teen, I always thought I would become an equine (horse) veterinarian. So, I suppose I always knew I wanted to do medicine but did not realize I wanted to practice human medicine at first. What drew me to human medicine was my own experience in the healthcare system. I injured my wrist riding and competing horses and spent a lot of time finding an orthopedic surgeon who would operate on a pediatric patient. I respected my surgeon. He took the time to sit down and listen to me, which was very rare. From then on, I knew that I wanted to help others as he had helped me. Being healthy means a person can go out to achieve their goals, whether it’s in sports, academics, or in their career. To this day, I really love medicine for the humanitarian aspect of it. I really enjoy meeting people and getting to know them while I help them with their health. On top of all that, I learn so much every single day. There is nothing better than knowing I have a job that challenges me and helps me grow while having the ability to help other people.
What are your future goals moving forward?
I have 2.5 more years of pediatric residency to complete and then hope to pursue a fellowship program, which is an additional 2-3 years of subspecializing within the broad field of pediatrics. As of right now, I am most interested in a career in hospital-based medicine, specifically Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Intensive Care, or Hospitalist medicine. I find it so fulfilling to help children and their families at their sickest, most vulnerable moments. I still have a lot of time to decide what I want to do within pediatrics and know I will be happy and successful in whatever field I choose.
What pathway would you share with current South Colonie students to be successful?
First, always challenge yourself – that is the key to growing in your pursuits, no matter what field you choose. It is important to remember that the minute you start feeling uncomfortable or uncertain, that is a good thing! You are learning. Another important thing to remember is that money and debt are not the important things in life. Doing something you find fulfilling or that makes you happy is the most crucial. If you are doing that, then you will make whatever salary work and be able to pay your debt off over time. People rarely look back and regret doing something they loved. Lastly, finding yourself a great mentor will get you a long way. Find a teacher, guidance counselor, or community member in the field you are interested in and ask for advice. Everyone is very happy to help you on your journey!