’09 Class Profile: Kristin Schwab

Kristin Schwab claims that her life since Princeton has been pretty unadventurous—but this profile definitely proves her wrong! After time on the US Women’s lacrosse team and medical school at Penn, Kristin is now a resident at UCLA as well as an author of a book about her experience (any agents or publishers in our class?). Thanks Kristen for taking the time to talk to us about international travel, formative relationships with thesis advisors, and the essential goodness of a Frist Salad.

Can you tell us a bit about what you were involved in while at Princeton?princeton pic 2

I was the typical jock. I played on the women’s lacrosse and field hockey teams—and so spent way more time on the field and in the workout room than in the library. I majored in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and got to spend a summer traveling through Ghana as part of my thesis research. Actually, I also travelled to Australia for two weeks with my lacrosse team and Argentina for a week with my field hockey team—so I like to brag that I got to go on three international trips to three different continents, all courtesy of Princeton. I also played on the U.S. national lacrosse team during my senior year. Aside from sports, I spent a good amount of time volunteering at the University Medical Center at Princeton and dancing late night at Cottage Club.

Talk about what you’ve been up to since Princeton. What are you currently working on? What has the path been like to get to where you are today? What’s next?

Wow—compared to all the other class profiles, my life since Princeton seems so unadventurous! I went to medical school at the University of Pennsylvania and am now a second year resident in Internal Medicine at UCLA. After I finish my three years of residency, I’m going to be a chief resident at UCLA—and then I’m planning on doing a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care. So, the end is finally in sight—only 5 more years until I finish schooling and training. 🙂

I’ve also been able to fit in a lot of other “extracurriculars” since Princeton. I’ve done a lot of global health-related work in Malawi, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, and Nicaragua. I’ve become very interested in medical journalism and spent a month interning in New York City in the medical television industry. Rather unexpectedly, I started writing a lot while in medical school and now have a 267-page book that chronicles the highs and lows of the experience. Medical school was such a strange and defining experience for me, so I’m excited to share my story with others. I’m currently in the process of finding an agent and a publisher for the book.

Who is a Princetonian who has helped you along the way? Can you talk a bit about how this person has been an influence on your life or career?

So many people come to mind—my freshman-through-senior year roommates (Katie Thaeder, Aarti Jain, and Jackie Thomas), my teammates (Katie Kinzer, Holly McGarvie Reilly, Candice Arner, and Kraftin Schreyer, among many others), and the people I met after graduating who are now some of my best friends (Elise Schlissel). My Princeton friends have completely changed my life and continue to be the closest people in the world to me.

Since this question asked for one specific person, though, I would have to single out my thesis advisor, Adel Mahmoud. He continues to be my number one mentor and sounding board for any major life decision. When I was in medical school in Philadelphia, he would come into the city multiple times a year to meet me and Elise (who was another one of his advisees) for dinner. Although he has yet to come out to Los Angeles, he was the first person I saw when coming back for Reunions last year. He is not afraid to tell me when he thinks I’m doing something stupid—and has thus simultaneously been the most supportive and candid mentor I’ve ever had.

What about your life now would your Sophomore-year self be most surprised by?

That I still have yet to find a salad that’s better than a Frist salad.

What’s your favorite thing about your life right now?

I live in Santa Monica, 18 blocks from the beach, and am working at a hospital that I absolutely love. I love that I have the privilege to take care of patients at such important points in their lives. It’s easy to work long hours when the days can be so fulfilling. I also love the fact that I don’t have to study for tests anymore. In some ways, it’s amazing to not be a student.

Is there anything else you’d like your classmates to know about you?

These questions are so tough! Probably not—but thanks for reading!