Elizabth Onyemelukwe Garner '89

Elizabeth Onyemelukwe Garner '89

Resident, Brigham and Women's Hospital
Double Major:  Biology and Music
MD & MPH, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Elizabeth (Beth) Onyemelukwe Garner '89 turned down Harvard to come to Mount Holyoke. "My mom was thrilled. She's an alum--Class of '62--and she absolutely loved it here. But my dad wasn't too happy, so I told him I'd go to Harvard Medical School after MHC. I don't know how I was presumptuous enough to assume that this would happen."

But it did happen. Now in her last year at Harvard, Beth is completing her residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Brigham and Women's Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School. She delivers babies, performs C-sections and other surgery, and handles high risk pregnancies. Between her third and fourth years of med school, Beth earned a master's in public health. Next year, she will be a full-time staff member at Massachusetts General, another Harvard affiliate.

While Beth knew she wanted to become a doctor before she entered Mount Holyoke, she did not spend her four years just preparing for medical school. "I actually completed all my pre-med courses by my first semester junior year. For the last year and a half, I practically lived in the music department, which is small, but wonderful." An accomplished singer and pianist, Beth accompanied the Concert Choir and Glee Club. She sang with the Chamber Singers; she directed Cornerstone, an a cappella group of eight to ten women; and she took voice and piano lessons--practicing between two and four hours every day.

As an MHC undergrad, Beth was already adept at juggling multiple activities. As a doctor, she's juggling more than ever. On average, she works twelve hour days. "And right now, I'm in an easy rotation. There were times I was working from 5 am to 10 at night." She sings in the Back Bay Chorale and still plays the piano. Married and the proud mother of a three-year-old son, she's got a second child on the way.

How does she manage this heavy load? "It helps to have an incredibly supportive husband, " says Beth. "Another key factor is that I do things I love, so I don't mind juggling. If I'd had any idea how hard I would work as a doctor, I would have dropped medicine a long time ago. But I had a feeling I would love it. And I do."

Article courtesy of: "10 Brilliant Reasons to Choose Mount Holyoke College"