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Lib Lockett
July 23, 2020

Animal science major found a career in human medicine


Seven years ago, Lib Lockett ’13 could not have imagined who she is today: a medical student completing her final year at the Medical College of Georgia’s Northwest Campus in Rome. When she graduated from Berry with a degree in animal science, Lockett anticipated a career in veterinary medicine after a one-year stint teaching in northeast China. But when she was not accepted to vet school, she remained resilient, rethinking her future.

On a flight home, Lockett sat next to a pediatric radiologist and discussed her situation. “He challenged me to think about going to med school. I eventually came to the conclusion that I was called to go into human medicine,” she says. With renewed energy, she took two years to gain experience in the medical field, first as a medical scribe and then as an emergency department technician.

Even though Lockett changed career direction, her Berry-built skills — from academic discipline to leadership — have served her well. She held positions as the captain of the soccer team, student supervisor with the Annual Fund (calling alumni in order to raise funds for scholarships) and group leader with Campus Outreach. “These opportunities forced me to figure out who I was and what was important to me leveraging my time, resources and gifts for those I deeply cared about,” Lockett says.

Lockett credits the academic rigor of the animal science program and Professor Judith Wilson, the department chair, with her success. “She taught some of the most challenging courses,” Lockett notes. “But the difficulty of her exams forced you to learn the information well. The upper level courses I took laid a strong foundation for med school.”

Wilson is quick to point out the qualities that will make Lockett a successful physician: “Her cheerful demeanor and inquisitive nature always added to the class discussions and learning environment. She is self-aware and resilient, so I’m not surprised that she is pursuing a career in human medicine.”

Lockett’s clinical and academic accomplishments recently earned her the coveted J. Paul Ferguson, M.D., Award for Leadership — a scholarship that honors one medical student at the Northwest Campus each year. The award was named for J. Paul Ferguson, the retired president and CEO of Harbin Clinic, neurosurgeon and Berry College Trustee Emeritus. It is paired with the Outstanding Student of the Year Award. Lockett also received the Peace Memorial Joseph A. Clapp Scholarship, which enables recipients to further their education in pursuit of professional goals.

Like other medical students across the nation, Lockett could not report to the hospital because of safety and liability concerns when COVID-19 struck. This gave her a lot of study time, but she is now back to work, thanks to proper personal protective equipment and new safety regulations, and looks forward to a residency in general surgery.

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