“One of the happiest moments of my life. I’m proud to announce that I matched at my #1 choice and will be attending Yale University for my surgical training.” - James W. Stewart II
The viral video of Dr. James W. Stewart II on match day has been a moment in the making since he was three years old.
Because of Them We Can spoke to Dr. Stewart to learn more about his journey and the advice he has for other aspiring doctors and future STEM leaders.
What did this moment mean to you?
I have wanted to be a doctor since 3 years old. My dream of becoming a surgeon crystallized my senior year in high school, when I observed a triple bypass surgery. The surge of excitement I felt when I saw the heart beating is indescribable. Looking back on my journey and now realizing the opportunity to train as a surgeon, at a world-class institution, is humbling. Being able to work with my hands, use my clinical knowledge, and do what God has placed me on this earth to do is what I’ve always wanted.
I grew up in Howard County, MD. I attended the great University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) where I majored in Biology and minored in music. My minor was focused on piano and saxophone performance. After graduation I attended Meharry Medical College, a medical school focused on serving the underserved.
BOTWC Note: Meharry Medical college is a Historically Black College & University (HBCU). Other relatively known HBCU medical colleges include Howard University, Morehouse School of Medicine and Charles Drew University.
What advice do you have for other young people of color with the same dream?
Throughout my journey, I can relay one important lesson.
Be relentless in the pursuit of your dream. You will have people tell you to change paths. You will have people tell you that you are simply not good enough. Trust me when I say that if you envisioned it, it will come to pass. Don’t let people’s perception become your reality.
Who is your Because of THEM We Can person?
Looking up to individuals, such as Nita Ahuja MD, MBA, who is the incredible chair of the surgery department at Yale University, gives me hope that it is possible. It is possible to constantly innovate and be a powerhouse surgeon. It is possible to mentor and help individuals get where you are. It is ALL possible. We are standing on the shoulders of giants. When you make it to the top, it’s your job to help those behind you. That has always been my goal, and will continue to be as long as I’m able to do God’s work.
Congratulations Dr. Stewart and to all of the other doctors who matched!