Lee Grad Ready To Achieve Lifelong Oncologist Dream
By EMILY GUEVARA
Katie Rozell has grown quite comfortable in hospitals. As a child she spent a lot of time in them when her parents were sick. Her mother battled breast cancer and her father had some health issues including pancreatitis.
"I was comfortable with it because I associated my parents with it," Miss Rozell, 17, said of the environment. "I guess it was something that kind of came naturally that I enjoyed being in that environment not in a bad kind of way, but it was comforting knowing that I could comfort others."
Now, after graduating from Robert E. Lee High School the Tyler resident plans to attend Hendrix College in Conway, Ark. There, she will begin the next stage of her education, one that she hopes will lead to a career in medicine.
Miss Rozell was 5 years old when she decided she wanted to be a doctor. But, it wasn't until her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Miss Rozell was 8 that she decided to become an oncologist.
"It made me very sad, but I was still very young," she said of her mother's illness. "It was something that after I thought about it, this is a way I can really make a (difference) ... in people's lives."
Over the years, Miss Rozell has expanded her knowledge about the medical field. She talked to her mother's doctor and interviewed her. She also volunteered at the Tyler Cancer Center during the summer and had several other volunteer activities.
In school, she excelled, participating in the International Baccalaureate program, which she said pushed her beyond her own perceived limits and encouraged her to stay in advanced classes. Her high school GPA was 3.99.
At Hendrix College, Miss Rozell plans to major in biochemistry and molecular biology. More than $100,000 in scholarships will help fund her education at the private liberal arts and sciences college.
Her dream is to attend Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore for medical school although she is open to attending The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston because it is closer to home.
She is considering specializing in pediatric oncology, which would require up to six years of residency. Although the time commitment is significant, it's something she said she is looking forward to.
"It almost feels like it's a totally different thing because it's just a new experience," she said of this next stage of education. "It's a new thing. I almost separate it from school even though I know it's a whole new set of school and everything else. Once I get into medical school, I'll truly be doing what I love and I don't feel like it will be much like school, it will be a new adventure."