Give the Gift of MOTIVATION

Who has given that gift to you?

Dr. Vivian Lee
University of Utah Medical School

When I was young, I didn’t realize that it was unusual to grow up in a household where both my mom and my dad had full time, engaged professional jobs. Both were (and still are) professors at the University of Oklahoma. My mother is a professor of Biostatistics and Epidemiology. For the past 30 years or more, she’s been engaged in research in the health of Native Americans in Oklahoma, specifically focusing on diabetes and cardiovascular disease. She has led many major research grants. She has taught countless students, in public health and medical school. She has also had significant administrative experience—having served as the Dean of the School of Public Health at the university.

When I was young, my Mom was really terrific. She helped me with my homework. I recall a memorable project making a volcano with a huge mound of Tide detergent—it didn’t erupt very effectively, but it did smell very nice.  She hand sewed costumes for the school play, including a lovely gingham dress when I played a pioneer Oklahoman and had a “major” nonspeaking role walking across the stage. Fortunately, I recognized early on that an acting career was not in my future. She taught me how to prepare some dishes that to this day are among my very favorites. She was the hostess to some amazing dinner parties my parents hosted. As I got older, Mom got me more involved in her work. I had the chance to proofread her papers and grants. I heard about her research projects. I learned about academic health care. Education was clearly paramount.

I write about my mom because she had an enormous impact on me as a role model. By being a well-educated mom, she helped me be a better student and a more well-rounded person. And now, I would say that she has made me a better mother.

Everyone in the community has potential to be an influencer that motivates a young woman to graduate from college. How can YOU give the gift of motivation this season?