In my heart of hearts, I also secretly dreamed of opening a private school. I applied to Stanford’s Graduate School of Education because of its stellar reputation.
Norma Francisco, PhD ’99
“I’m often asked, ‘How did you go from studying dentistry to earning a PhD to running a learning franchise to ultimately becoming an academic advisor?’
“Growing up in California’s Central Valley and vowing to escape farm labor and domestic work, I chose a career in dental hygiene. After graduating from UCSF’s dental hygiene program, I took a faculty position there, never dreaming that I would later chair that program for eight years. That administrative responsibility led me to Stanford to obtain a PhD that would help strengthen the UCSF dental hygiene program.
“In my heart of hearts, I also secretly dreamed of opening a private school. I applied to Stanford’s Graduate School of Education because of its stellar reputation. I chose the PhD program in educational psychology because I wanted to learn the secrets to successful teaching and learning. I believed that Stanford held those secrets. The GSE helped me to achieve my dreams by exposing me to a thriving environment, supportive faculty and staff, and students and programs that were pushing the envelope on defining and solving society’s problems.
“I learned about the Kumon Math and Reading system while at Stanford. After defending my dissertation in 1996,
up to. It's why two years ago she started the Twitter account, @blackgrlsurgeon, so she could be out in the open for anyone in search of a role model.
'I want to be a visible face in academic surgery,' she says, 'So young Black girls have someone to look up to and say, 'I can be like this.'''
From selfies while on call to peer-reviewed research, August has been publicly chronicling her experience as an openly gay, black, female surgeon. She's also a volunteer with Stanford Cancer Center's Peer Navigators program, will be starting a Biodesign Innovation Fellowship in July, and wears a SpongeBob SquarePants scrub cap during her pediatric surgery rotation.
I guess I wasn't really that surprised. You're my #shero, Auriel, and after reading this story, I think other people will think so too.
Norma Francisco, Stanford Graduate Student
STORY AND PHOTO COURTESY OF STANFORD MEDICINE SCOPE BLOG