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My UT Southwestern story: WNBA draftee joins Medical School Class of 2024

First-year medical student Erica Ogwumike shares her inspiration to become a doctor.

In April, Erica Ogwumike, then a star basketball player at Rice University, was drafted into the WNBA. But the athlete, who had her eye on medical school since her sophomore year of college, decided to join UT Southwestern’s Medical School Class of 2024 instead. In the video, hear how factors including the COVID-19 pandemic and a desire to improve racial inequity in health care played a part in her decision to pursue a medical career. 

Read more about Erica’s story.



I’m just really excited to start medical school at UT Southwestern.

There is a similarity between being a basketball player, a student, and eventually a physician.

I think being a student athlete has just really allowed me to hone a lot of the skills that are going to hopefully make me successful in medical school – such as time management, communication skills, just being forward thinking, being optimistic and working on a team.

I am Erica Ogwumike and this is my UT Southwestern story.

It was amazing to find out I got into medical school.

No one in my family is anywhere near a physician. My older sisters are professional athletes in the WNBA and my other sister is getting her MBA and my parents didn’t do that either so everyone was super excited.

When I got the official acceptance letter everyone was so happy and really proud. It was a hard journey and I definitely could not have done it without all the resources around me.

[Text: In April, the Rice University basketball player was drafted into the WNBA, but chose to go to medical school.]

It was a surprise. I didn’t know I was going to get drafted, and of course I was a bit nervous because I was already accepted to multiple medical schools, so I had to figure out how to word those conversations with admissions, but ultimately UT Southwestern was so supportive.

The way they responded was just support and love and they were like just figure out whatever you want to do, we support you, you know you always have a place at UT Southwestern. I just knew I need to go here instantly.

Ultimately it was very easy to decide instead of continuing basketball to go to medical school because I know it’s what I want to do, especially with what’s going on in the world right now with social justice movements and the coronavirus – it’s imperative to have physicians that look like you, so it made me feel like I really had a place to be at right now.

I chose to attend UT Southwestern Medical School just for so many awesome reasons. For one the community is just so great at UT Southwestern. It made me feel at home instantly on my interview day and as I’ve gotten to meet a lot of the administration and other people I really just felt at home and know it’s the place for me. And of course the prestige, the academics, and the rigor. I know I am going to be trained very well to be a physician one day and I am excited about that and I think it’s the best of both worlds having such a great community and also great academics.

Being a former student athlete, failure recovery is something that I have learned. We play so many games and I haven’t won every single game so I’ve always had to learn how to bounce back and also how to have confidence when bouncing back and also learning from my mistakes and I know I am going to have so many mistakes in medical school, and I know this journey is not going to be just smooth sailing so I am prepared in that manner, as well, you know, to always have a growth mindset.

Take every day like a game day because if you come with that mindset, a lot of success can come out of it.

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