Few people would leave a successful, high-paying career for a path involving years of school and the possibility of failure.
But that was exactly what Katie Zhang — a health care consultant who advised hospitals and other clients about financial management — chose to do. And now she is a 25-year-old, first-year medical student at the Medical College of Georgia-University of Georgia (MCG-UGA) Medical Partnership in Athens.
She is among the 40 students who enrolled last fall in this new program, established to reduce physician shortages by educating doctors who will practice in Georgia.
Zhang’s family moved from China to the United States when she was a child. Both parents encouraged her to research science topics that caught her interest, and Zhang’s mother taught her multiplication tables at home when she was only 5.
After graduating from Georgia Tech, Zhang spent three years as a health care consultant. But she felt the need for a change. In addition to exploring her natural curiosity about science, she wanted to “make a mark on this Earth, and have a meaningful impact on people’s lives.”
Many families would be thrilled by the prospect of having a doctor in the family. But Zhang’s family had reservations when she first mentioned medical school. But now that they’ve seen how much Katie likes medicine, they’ve come around.
Here’s our interview with Zhang.