Wartburg is, was, and always will be my home

NAME: Sophia Williams-Perez
MAJORS: Biochemistry 
CURRENT EMPLOYMENT: General Surgery Resident Physician, Baylor College of Medicine

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: The open, welcoming community. I still remember fondly my first visit to campus while I was in high school. During my tour of campus, I was incredibly surprised by the number of students, faculty, and staff who made a point to smile at me in the hallways or say hello as I was passing. None of these individuals knew me, but they made it point to stop for a few seconds of their day to ensure that I felt welcomed. Second to the environment I experienced at Wartburg were the unmatched academics and athletics. I knew choosing Wartburg would allow me to excel both in the classroom and on the soccer field simultaneously.

HOW DID YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARE YOU FOR MEDICAL SCHOOL: Specifically to my journey, Wartburg prepared me to be a competitive medical school applicant and then eventually a successful medical student. With challenging coursework, extensive research opportunities, and national networking experiences, my dream of attending medical school never seemed out of reach while I was in medical school. I knew from having chosen Wartburg, that my goal of becoming a physician was attainable.

Sophia Williams-Perez

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: Before Wartburg, I never could have imagined becoming a leader, whether it was in my field, in the military, or in my personal life. Wartburg was one of the first places that helped me realize that I not only have a voice, but that my voice matters. Through research, being involved in Orientation Staff, soccer, and other activities, Wartburg helped me realize my potential and fostered my ability to take on new roles and responsibilities.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE WARTBURG TRADITION: Hands-down: Outfly. I was incredibly lucky to have experienced Outfly from both the position of just a student as well as an Orientation Staff member. Through either perspective, it was one of the most fun ways to see all of campus come together and celebrate being at Wartburg in a happy environment. Also, the early wake-up call to prep for Outfly as an O-Staff member most definitely prepared me for those early mornings as a surgeon!

HOW DO YOU STAY CONNECTED TO THE COLLEGE: Mentorship is one of my lifelong callings and now being on the other side of undergrad, it is one of the strongest ways I stay connected with Wartburg. From having guest-spoken to students at Tri Beta, to mentoring through the Orange Connection Program, to helping new Wartburg grads as they transition to medical school, my connection to the college lives through my mentorship avenues. Additionally, I make an effort to give an annual donation on UKnight Day, which is a great way of remembering the scholarship help I received that made my education at Wartburg possible.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR CURRENT STUDENTS: Dare to be different! Just because something seems “status quo” or is what all other students on similar paths to yours are doing, does not mean is the sole method for success. Choose a major that interests you. Take the class that seems unique. Become involved in an extracurricular just because it sounds enjoyable. There is no wrong answer. When you make decisions in life that at first seem intimidating, I guarantee you’re more likely to grow and develop along the way.

HOW ARE YOU LIVING OUT THE WARTBURG MISSION: Little did I realize at the time just how perfectly Wartburg’s mission would relate to my lifelong journey in medicine. As a physician, my calling is to help, to heal, and to tirelessly serve my patients. Like Wartburg’s mission touching on leadership and service, my vocation is that of serving others, through not only the medical field but also as an officer in the United States Navy.

WHY WAS YOUR EXPERIENCE WORTH IT: Wartburg is, was, and always will be my home. It’s where I met my closest friends, where I made my deepest connections, and where my ability to succeed transpired. I have yet to experience a group of people, from faculty to classmates to comrades, who felt so heavily invested in my future. At each and every step of the way, I knew I was supported and that my imagined goals would not be merely just that; that rather, they would transform into reality.