Class of 2022, SUNY Downstate College of Medicine

NMF Scholar Aaron Conway had an unconventional path to a career in medicine. He started his education as the eldest of seven homeschooled children. When he entered community college, he had to adapt to a very different learning environment. After completing his bachelor’s and a master’s, he applied to med school. He didn’t get in. So he spent a year interning and applied again. Still no admissions. Anyone in that position has to dig deep. How badly does he want to be a doctor? What are his core motivations?

For Aaron, his core motivation was a desire to serve the underserved in an impactful way. Before college, he spent five years doing humanitarian aid work all over the world. He decided he wanted to become a doctor to help people like those he worked with in the US, Central America, Germany, and South Korea. He was determined to accomplish that goal. He did another master’s program, took the MCAT again, and applied to med school for the third time. This time, his perseverance paid off. Now Aaron is a third-year student who is already making a difference for medically underserved communities through his work with the Brooklyn Free Clinic.

When the COVID-19 crisis hit, Aaron was frustrated that he couldn’t contribute by working with patients, but he found a way to participate in fighting the virus by doing research on COVID-19 outcomes, specifically renal function. It felt amazing to be able to do something to help combat the virus. And the fact that Black and Brown people are suffering the worst effects of COVID-19 made it even more important to be doing something to help. Aaron is another great example of why it’s so important to support NMF Scholars. They are making such a difference today and will keep doing so for years to come!