“My mom [Alicia Maun, M.D., a longtime UF physician who is now retired] was one of the pioneering female physicians in the U.S. After graduating medical school in the Philippines, she did her residency in Brooklyn, New York. She would tell us stories of how she was one of the few female physicians in that context in the early 1960s. My sisters and I witnessed her strength, how she carried herself and her confidence. You knew she had to be strong to be part of that male-dominated culture back then. We were influenced by the model she set.
“As we grew up in Gainesville, we were exposed to a lot of physician-mothers. We saw the dedication and sacrifice required to take care of patients while at the same time taking care of a family. My mom brought us to the UF Student Health Care Center, where she worked, after school. That was the only way to raise us while maintaining her career. My mom, along with the other physician-moms at the UF SHCC, was a great role model for me in how someone can have true dedication to a career and personal dedication to a family.
“Before I got into medical school, I was interested in doing research, and I took a job in the research lab of Mary Jo Karoly, Ph.D. I was initially hired to wash dishes. She mentored me and introduced me to medical science, and I worked my way up to doing experiments on cell tissue models in vitro. She was a very encouraging, patient mentor. It wasn’t just her intellect and talent — it was that special trait of compassion and nurturing that was present. It was that exposure that led me to consider a career in basic medical sciences and why I later applied to the UF MD-PhD program.”
— Noel Maun, M.D., Ph.D. ’95, oncologist with Florida Cancer Specialists in Venice Island, Florida