Meet the graduate: Kaela Williams

Kaela Williams
Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Kaela Williams, from Sanford, North Carolina, is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University’s College of Liberal Arts & Sciences. An aspiring physician, Williams also minored in sociology. As Commencement nears, Williams reflects upon Charlotte’s impact on her life and career aspirations.

Your first choice was Charlotte. Can you tell us why?
Coming from a small town with fewer people than the number of students that attend Charlotte, I felt the University would challenge me to think outside of the box and transform my passion into purpose. I didn’t even apply anywhere else.

I have always admired how clean the campus is, the architecture and technological advances in buildings like EPIC, as I am a visionary who is motivated by what I see. I was impressed by organizations and many other resources available to students. I have been overjoyed by the opportunities to serve my campus and community, meet unique people from all walks of life and learn so many new things inside and outside of my studies. I have found an environment of inspiring individuals who are eager to do something bigger and brighter with their lives, and Charlotte prepares you to do just that.

When did you realize that you wanted to be a medical doctor?
I have known my entire life that I wanted to enter the medical field. This was not only reinforced by the numerous health conditions of people I know, but through an early awareness that health is connected to every aspect of life. Innovations in disease treatment and preventative research take decades, but with the collaborative work of health care professionals, advances in medicine will improve quality of life. I plan to be a doctor who pays attention to every single detail and possibility when it concerns patient needs. Through this profession, I want to encourage others to prioritize their health and visit health care providers more regularly. I'd like to subdue some of the fear and anxiety surrounding medical care and advocate to decrease global and racial disparities within the health care system. I am a strong believer that everyone deserves access to affordable, high-quality health care.

Have you had any health care experience?
I work 30-plus hours a week as a patient-experience coordinator at Atrium Health. In this position, I make rounds in the emergency department to every patient’s room to assess their experience with the facility, physicians, nurses and staff. I help to ensure their time spent in the hospital is comfortable and their care plan is efficient.

I am obtaining a certified nursing aide credential. I love being able to apply what I have learned from my courses at Charlotte to more direct patient interactions, like hands-on learning and clinical hours with nursing home residents.

Can you tell us about Student Advising for Freshman Excellence and what it meant to you?
Yes, through SAFE, I learned about everything this campus has to offer, from the 60 minutes of free bike time to the Career Center to the University Writing Center — and I used all of it! I am still in touch with some of my peer mentors. Their guidance has been pivotal in the impact I have been able to make at Charlotte. Not to mention, mentees were connected to a group of other students in their major, which aided in curriculum transition and maintenance over our academic tenures. It is remarkable to think back to our first days on campus at the SAFE program to now, where others in my group have founded organizations, succeeded in their paths and served the University.

You’ve been involved with many extracurricular activities at Charlotte. Can you tell us about one that has been particularly rewarding?
Student Ambassadors was an organization to which I gravitated. I served the Office of Alumni Affairs and the Office of the Chancellor through volunteer hours each semester. After being inducted in 2019, I went on to become the vice president of membership, where I introduced new training initiatives on equity and inclusion and created outlets for support to transition from undergraduate student to professional. Through this position, I was connected to people like Ryan McKeel in the Office of Identity, Equity and Engagement, who led a cohort of students on social justice in leadership. This is the grassroots for a new program that will be introduced in the fall, called Spark. What made this duty unique was the opportunity to meet with other ambassadors every Monday to practice various professional skills and to unite with the current student body to bridge connections with alumni.

What’s next?
One thing I can say for sure is that I will continue to do the work of learning and serving. Post-graduation, I will spend a year preparing for the MCAT, traveling the world and learning more about myself and community. I have plans to work full-time in a health care setting, gaining deeper clinical experience and to apply to medical schools next year.

Inside UNC Charlotte is featuring members of the Class of 2022 as part of its coverage of Spring Commencement. Read more about these graduates:
Kendall Britton, Lee College of Engineering
Noah Hansil, School of Data Science
Skyler Parrow-Strong, College of Arts + Architecture
Ayushi Patel, College of Computing and Informatics
Priya Patel, College of Health and Human Services
Marice Raynor, Belk College of Business
Dakota Walker, Cato College of Education