I Can Be a: Doctor

By Amanda Penny, MD and FPDS Parent

When I was in high school, my physics teacher was an engineer. We spent the year discussing how things work, from how do planes fly to why boats don’t sink. I loved learning about processes and enjoyed the class so much that I decided to pursue a degree in engineering at Mississippi State. While there, I realized that I enjoyed building personal relationships as much as I loved math and science. This led me to biological engineering and considering a career as a physician. While in medical school here in Jackson, I felt called to care for children. Children are generally healthy with the desire to return to playing once their acute illness is over. I loved being able to take care of a parent’s most precious gift, a child.

As I was graduated medical school, my husband was offered a unique job in Sacramento, CA. Before this, I had never considered training to be a pediatrician outside of Mississippi, where I had grown up and where our family and our friends were, but God had other plans. We moved to California prior to knowing for certain that I had a residency position there. We moved on faith that God would provide for us. God used that time to grow us in our relationship with Him and teach us things we wouldn’t have learned otherwise.

My favorite shining moments in my career range from something powerful, such as a life-saving diagnosis of botulism in a 3 week old baby, to something simple, such as hearing a mom tell me her child plays “Dr. Penny” at home. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to be invited into patient’s lives, to be able to provide guidance, and to listen to and pray for them. I’m fulfilled at work by knowing I’m using the gifts that God has given me to care for those who cross my path.

For students interested in one day being a doctor, my advice is to learn to serve others and to learn how to work hard. Working hard in school means developing good study habits as medicine requires years of learning and studying. Developing a love for books and an interest in the world around you, including both biology and physical sciences, will help cultivate the skills needed to thrive during medical training. Also, seek mentors who you can trust to provide wise counsel and advice as you make the decision to focus your training.

It is crucial to me, as a mother and doctor in the community, that my kids receive a high-quality education in a caring, Christian atmosphere. I’m so thankful to have FPDS and its teachers nurturing my children while I’m at work. I love hearing about what they are learning at FPDS. Each teacher has taken a true interest in my children and has provided a strong and caring place for them while I’m at work. I appreciate this more than I can put into words. Raising children truly does take a village, and I’m so thankful that FPDS is part of our community.