Global Citizen

Nicole Wang ’21 just completed her first semester at UF and is committed to the pre-med track, even though she knows it’s not going to be easy. “During our preview session, we were asked how many people wanted to be doctors, and half of the room raised their hand. It was very intimidating,” she says. “But if I am going to spend so much time doing one thing, I want it to be something I completely love. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else but being in the medical field. I am extremely passionate about it and women’s health.” She is correct in her estimation — each year, 2,000 incoming freshmen indicate that they want to be pre-med, and only 425 to 450 actually matriculate to medical school.

Born in Canada, Wang moved with her family to China when she was seven before relocating to the United States. She spends summers doing mission work in Brazil and has volunteered in the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. She also regularly volunteered at Tampa General Hospital. She is fluent in Portuguese and speaks Spanish and French — and she accomplished all this before graduating from high school.

portrait of friendly young womanNicole Wang played with med kits when other girls played with dolls. Gigi Marino

“Coming to UF has been the best decision I’ve ever made. Shands is such a great teaching hospital, and the med school is competitive and amazing.”

Wang, who is half Chinese and half Brazilian, travels each summer to her mother’s home city, Porto Alegre, south of São Paulo. She says that she noticed conditions becoming worse, especially for poor children. “So, my mom and I found an orphanage to help,” she says. “We taught them hygiene and English. Knowing English is the way out of poverty for a lot of children.” When they travel, they bring suitcases filled with educational materials that they leave behind. Even after becoming a doctor, Wang intends to make philanthropy a part of her repertoire. “It has always been a part of my routine,” she says. “I can’t imagine my life without it.”

Wang has wanted to be a doctor since she was seven. She says that while most other girls her age were playing with Barbie dolls, she was playing with medical kits. “My mom would pretend to have an injury so I could fix her up,” she says.

Here in Gainesville, Wang volunteers for internal medicine at Shands Hospital. “Coming to UF has been the best decision I’ve ever made,” she says. “Shands is such a great teaching hospital, and the med school is competitive and amazing.” She also pledged Delta Zeta. “My high school graduating class had 56 people in it. UF is more like a little city than a school. Joining a sorority makes it smaller.”

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