Jessica Solomon, A05, M12
Who knew that playing dress-up as a child would have life-long consequences?
In fourth grade, Jessica Solomon, A05, M12, gave a full, in-costume presentation to her class on Elizabeth Blackwell, the country's first female physician. Solomon was smitten on the spot. "I was inspired. Elizabeth Blackwell overcame a lot of adversity, advocated for women in the field, and was devoted to her goal," Solomon says two decades after her performance. She adds that "getting to play that same role in people's lives combines my personal passion for medicine and my urge to help others."
A native of Newton, Massachusetts, Solomon attended Tufts as an undergraduate, where she explored her childhood dream by immersing herself in two medically-related jobs - HIV/AIDS counseling at Brigham and Women's Hospital and ophthalmology research. These stints confirmed that medicine was her calling.
The first physician in her family, Solomon pursued her medical dream at TUSM, where she carried the full burden of tuition. On top of her undergraduate debt, taking loans to cover medical school "was really stressful," she says. But she focused "100 percent on the tsunami of med school, where I worked harder than I ever have before. If I had a job through medial school, it would have detracted from my ability to give 100 percent to my studies and caring for my patients. Something would have suffered."
In her second year at TUSM, Solomon was awarded the Irene R. Kandzie Endowment Scholarship, which covered half of her tuition for each year of her TUSM tenure (and supported four other students as well). "I didn't expect it at all. The scholarship helped me not worry so much," she says, adding, "Becoming a doctor is a goal I've had for an incredibly long time, so nothing would have prevented me from accomplishing it. But the scholarship has definitely taken a load off my shoulders and allowed me to lead with my passion for primary care."