Growing up in Tennessee as the daughter of two teachers, Mary Ann Smith always felt empowered to pursue education. Science was ingrained in her childhood thanks to her mother, a science teacher for 30 years, and she recalls doing experiments at home and walking past Mickey and Minnie on family vacations to Disney World in search of lichens on rocks.
As a recent graduate of Mississippi State University and a first-year student in UF’s MD-PhD Training Program, Smith aims to use the years of study ahead to pursue her interests in public health and infectious disease and hopes to someday join the ranks of physician-scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I want to learn to be a physician for communities, not just individuals, and I think the MD-PhD Training Program at UF will help me do that,” she says. “I also want to champion access to care, particularly in rural areas of the Southeast U.S.” — SR