Golden LEAF Scholarship Alumni Spotlight: Branden Mabe

Name: Branden Mabe
High School Attended: Alleghany High School
Home County: Alleghany
College(s) Attended/ Years Attended: University of North Carolina at Charlotte (2016 – 2020)
Major(s): Biology
Minor(s): Chemistry
Current School Attending: UNC School of Medicine
Title: Medical Student 

What are some of your major accomplishments during college?

I am very blessed and thankful to have graduated with a 4.0 GPA and received Summa Cum Laude institutional honors, honors in Biological Sciences, and university honors. I founded the Pre-Student Osteopathic Medical Association at UNC-Charlotte and served as its first president. 

What would you tell someone interested in applying for the Golden LEAF Scholarship about being a recipient?

The Golden LEAF Scholarship allowed me to pursue my dreams of going to college and eventually medical school. Every year, I knew I could count on the Foundation to push me forward and invest in my future, and that made all of the difference.

What helped you decide to live/ work in a rural area?

The Foundation’s seminars and presentations during the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program about the need for rural leaders inspired me to use my skills that I learned in school to make a broader impact on my rural community. Throughout my time at UNC-Charlotte, I also developed a greater appreciation for my rural town and community, and I hope to use all of the tools I received over the last four years one day as a physician.

What would you like to share about your personal or professional philosophies?

I am a thorough believer in everyone’s right to healthcare and respect. As a physician, I will advocate for those who are underrepresented in our society and in medicine. 

What did you learn during your experience at the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program?

I learned how to lead those that I interact with on a daily basis through hands-on activities, seminars, and events. I examined who I was as an individual and leader, and I believe this greater self-awareness will allow me to better understand my responses to others—ultimately making me a better leader.

What internship experiences did you have through the Golden LEAF Scholars Leadership Program?

My first summer, I was an intern at the Alleghany Memorial Hospital (AMH) Surgical Department. I was able to learn how to interact with patients and make procedures go smoothly. My second summer, I was an intern at Grace Clinic, and I experienced firsthand how a free, rural clinic operates and improves the lives of those that are seen there. Last summer, I interned at AMH again in the Emergency Department (ED), and I learned more about the importance of an ED in rural areas where an urgent care is absent. All of my summer internships had a substantial impact on my desire to pursue medicine.

Did your experiences help shape your decision to live/ work in rural areas? If so, how?

By seeing the challenges to rural healthcare—from lack of equipment, to staffing, to money—I would like to come back to one of these areas one day and help to mediate these issues. The way that rural healthcare workers change the lives of those living in rural areas is amazing, and I want to have such a positive impact on the community members that I grew up with and that supported me all throughout my life.

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