|Christiana Stark (bottom left) at a Make-A-Wish event|
When she was 10 years old, she faced a life-altering diagnosis for which her doctor could find no cure. Feeling frustrated, confused and alone, Christiana eventually confided in her doctor, who listened to all her concerns and provided her with support to improve her quality of life. Thankfully, Christiana outgrew her illness, but the experience had a lasting impact on her life. She realized how fortunate she was to have a doctor who provided individualized support while guiding her family through a stressful situation.
Inspired by her own childhood illness, Christiana attended the University of California-San Diego to study molecular biology and excelled both in and out of the classroom. She was involved in several extracurricular activities, including Chi Omega Fraternity. In fact, her experience as a Panhellenic woman helped her learn the value of community. “As I move on to medical school I hope to find a [similar] community of students… to work together to accomplish philanthropic endeavors that we find meaningful both in and outside of a hospital, and to be there to support each other through the challenges ahead.”
Through Chi Omega, Christiana discovered her love of volunteering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She was moved by the impact she could make without treating children medically and just providing them with a carefree day. “The fear and frustration I felt from facing a disease with no cure drives me to do everything in my power to alleviate that kind of distress for someone else.” She values charitable giving because it helps give her life meaning and plans to continue volunteering in the future.
Christiana hopes to become a doctor focused on the same individualized support for patients and families as she experienced. “As a doctor I will not be able to fix every ailment or answer every question that arises in the medical field, but I am determined to spend my career supporting others through the demanding physical and mental challenges life can bring.”
Christiana credits the support she received from her sisterhood for motivating her to pursue a medical degree at Southern Illinois University. The Mary Louise Roller Graduate Scholarship she received from the NPC Foundation this year will help her accomplish her goals. “This scholarship means so much to me because it shows me that there are so many women out there who believe in me and my goal. It is reassuring to know that I have the support of so many women who have faith that I can accomplish this and go on to help so many people as a doctor.”