'I want to work to create a more just and equal healthcare system'

Kim Pham

Biological Sciences
Syracuse, N.Y.

What was your favorite class and why?

My favorite class was Intro to Acting with Fatima Sowe. Despite it being a two-hour class at 9 a.m. and me not being a morning person, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although it made me uncomfortable at first having to do exercises like dancing in the center of a circle composed of my classmates, it challenged me to get out of my comfort zone and show the extroverted side of me that I tend to reserve for family and friends. From engaging in discussions after exercises, whether they be acting or dancing ones, I learned to be more self-aware of my word choice, body language and movement. Having it first thing in the morning started my days off right because the class activities put me in a good mood. It helped me become more in tune with my mind and body. 

woman with Touchdown, the Big Red bear

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

My main extracurricular activity at Cornell was being a member of a club called MEDLIFE, which stands for “Medicine, Education, and Development for Low-Income Families Everywhere.” My first involvement was going on a MEDLIFE service learning trip to Peru, where I volunteered at mobile clinics in underserved communities and learned more about the obstacles to healthcare many people face. After my trip, I applied and was accepted to the position of fundraising director, which I held for two years. MEDLIFE was and is still important to me because its mission aligns with my desire to bridge the gap between healthcare and patients in underserved areas to create a more just and equal healthcare system.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

I could say any of the good memories with friends I’ve met here at Cornell, whether that be chilling at the slope, attending our first hockey game, exploring the food options Ithaca has to offer, celebrating birthdays, snow tubing at Greek Peak or going to Fishbowl Wednesday. Even late night study sessions, with the walks to the vending machine or around the building as a break, will be looked back upon with nostalgia.

woman painting pins

What have you accomplished as a Cornell student that you are most proud of?

I am most proud of raising money for local businesses impacted by COVID-19 and for organizations fighting for and bettering Black lives, including Cornell Students 4 Black Lives. I run a fundraiser organization called “Charms for Smiles,” which I started my junior year of high school. Through making and selling my art, including polymer clay creations and hand-painted pins, to people across the country, I have raised thousands of dollars for different causes and organizations. I am especially proud that I took initiative during the pandemic to raise nearly $1,000 for struggling businesses in my hometown and $1,300 for Black Lives Matter organizations.


Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2022.

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