January 28, 2023
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Volunteer work leads to career change for structural engineer

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Medical student Esai Ponce dove headfirst into training at the simulation lab at Creighton University.

It’s routine for first year medical education students to take this path, but Ponce’s is anything but normal.

“I was making more than my parents combined, I was a first generation college grad, life was good for me,” said Ponce.

Ponce was a successful structural engineer, he’d already spent six years in school getting his bachelors and master’s degrees.

In his free time, he began volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul Medical Clinic.

“And it was at St Vincent De Paul where I saw the work of Dr. Younger, and Dr. Anwar and how they treated people,” said Ponce.

As a translator, Ponce witnessed firsthand the power of medicine and compassion.

How complex problems are solved and the impact it had on low-income patients.

“It just has made me, I think, grow as a person and made me really reflect on what I want to do and what I want to become,” said Ponce.

Ponce decided to take the leap, quitting his job and enrolling in Medical School at Creighton.

Embarking on a seven-year journey to become a doctor.

“Learning everything from anatomy to the basic sciences, how to do a physical exam, learn how to use a stethoscope for the first time,” said Ponce.

“We say this to our students, medicine is a calling it’s not just a job,” said Dr. Sonal Haeter with Creighton University.

Dr. Haerter says Ponce’s desire to heal those in their most desperate hours, especially those with limited means speaks to just that.

“He was drawn because he wants to take care of people, he wants to take care of people where there are not enough resources,” said Dr. Haeter.

Ponce hopes his story can inspire others to take their own leaps too, as the New Year offers a fresh start for us all.

“Making my own path I think has made me really broaden my vision of how I see life,” said Ponce.





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