Laura Dean

Laura Dean

A.B. '10 Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality
Resident in Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital
Laura Dean

I’ve always been one of those people who likes to lay out a plan. Upon starting at Harvard in fall 2006, I fancied myself a history concentrator and took off after that pursuit. It was engaging for a while until I developed two aspirations: to deepen the scholarly perspective of my historical studies and to find a community that actively fostered feminist philosophies. Enter WGS. Studying feminist scholarship in my varied WGS courses, I found that I was able to complicate and enrich my love of history. This new layer of critical analysis gave me a valuable perspective in the wide range of English, history, government, literature, and even life science classes I took. For me, WGS was a community that was not just supportive and motivating but also thought-provoking and uniquely focused on the questions that engaged me.

Once I finished studying archival historical material and writing about American gender history as an undergrad, I planned to work in health policy in Washington DC and apply to medical school. I did both of those things and then ended up interning at the White House, for the National Economic Council. Without the benefit of Economics 10, I got a crash course in economic policy, and I had the chance to bring my own expertise to the table, contributing to economic policy for women and families.

Following my internship, I worked as a presidential speechwriter for President Barack Obama for several years, which remains one of the great privileges of my life. I wrote speeches covering everything from family leave policy to universal kindergarten to protecting health insurance.

Finally, I circled back to medical school, which had been the plan all along. After graduating from Brown University's Alpert Medical School in 2018, I started residency in Emergency Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. I often got asked on the interview trail to explain myself: the WGS concentrator, speechwriter, doctor combo doesn't make a lot of sense to most people. For me, it has always been about the philosophical foundation I built as a WGS concentrator: pursuing complicated questions, understanding people's stories, and being an active player in changing the world around me.

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