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Latoya Newsom ′06

I expected my time at Rhodes to be classes, labs and studying. Period. I was definitely mistaken.

Internships and volunteer work at local hospitals taught me how I want to practice medicine. I don’t want to be a part of a large practice. I need to be able to spend plenty of time with my patients. 

Assuming leadership roles in the Black Student Association allowed me to get to know President Troutt, the Rhodes administration and the amazing speakers who come to campus, and I have made contacts that will last a lifetime. 

I’ve learned the most from the young ladies in the education and empowerment program I started in Hollywood-Springdale, the area highlighted in the Commercial Appeal as having the highest infant mortality rate in the nation.

After discussing the crisis in my medical sociology class, I went on a walking tour of the neighborhood where I saw mothers younger than I am. I saw all the things that can happen to a neighborhood—unemployment, crime, domestic violence—and how these things affect the young women who live there. I thought, “All they need is for someone to care about them, their experiences and their success.”

So, with the help of my sorority sister, Courtney Jones, I started “I Am…,” and it has been my greatest joy to watch it grow. “My Babies” learn life skills like cooking and sewing, speak with us openly and honestly about life, and see the city. We try to show them all that they can have and do when they believe in themselves.

I do what I do to share with them what my mother taught me years ago: “You deserve the best of everything. Don’t let someone else define who you are or where you will go.”

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