Lily Rogers (USA)'s story

Lily Rogers (USA)

Lily Rogers (USA)
Ballet Dancer
Study Medicine
Until recently I identified myself only as a professional ballet dancer. Although I loved being a dancer, part of me wondered if there were other ways I could contribute to the world. As the scope of my interests and passions started seeping beyond the spotlights, and as my hip injury became more serious, I finally understood that I was far more multidimensional than I had believed. I was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in my right hip in 2008, and for many years I tried to avoid surgery by using palliative treatments and injections, but eventually I underwent surgery in 2010. After a number of failed attempts to return to work, I knew it was time to stop dancing. This decision was both painful and liberating.
Injury is nothing new for dancers, and the relationship a dancer has with their injury is different for each individual, but my injury has everything to do with the future it showed me. This is the story of how I transformed my arthritis into another professional interest; it’s a story that describes how I designed a path to achieve newly defined goals, and why this scholarship will help me achieve my dreams.
I remember the exact moment I realized I wanted to pursue medicine. I was sitting in a cavernous ballroom in the Marriott Hotel in downtown San Francisco in early 2011, listening to some of the world's best doctors discuss labral repairs. Throughout the afternoon I was enthralled. I wanted to tell everyone about what I had just heard, I had a million questions, and, above all, I felt hungry for more information. In that moment, I realized there just might be a place in medicine for someone like me, for someone with my background and my perspective.
In the months that followed, I began actively seeking out medical opportunities and clinical experience. I boosted my math skills, spearheaded a human anatomy independent study program at LEAP, and began volunteering at a free clinic. Additionally, to show colleges I was serious about this transition, I finally took the SAT. I have already invested a great deal of money, time, and passion into this change, and I know making it this far is an achievement I never dreamed possible until recently. Starting at Columbia's School of General Studies in the fall means I will have the opportunity to start taking the courses that will lead me towards medical school. If I’m granted funds from the scholarship, the money will go directly towards my annual tuition of $34,896.00 at Columbia.
Although my arthritis is too severe to ever perform again, I will always identify with dance. Additionally, because I believe so deeply in the art form, I wish to one day be a resource for dancers managing injuries of their own. I hope to pursue orthopedics as well as volunteer my time with in-house clinics for dance companies. As medicine advances, specifically within orthopedics, treatments will continue to become less-invasive. Given this trajectory, and given that regenerative treatments--like cartilage replacement--are almost here, I think there will be a real way for dancers to maintain longer, healthier careers. My goals are lofty, but so is trying to become a professional ballerina. With strength and determination I have already achieved one dream, I am ready to achieve another. This scholarship will allow me to have smaller student debt upon graduation and it will give me the confidence to move forward. It was a joy bringing art to life for over 19 years, but I'm ready to help others fly.