Through our partnership with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Tri Delta lives out our Purpose as we help children live, scientists learn and St. Jude lead in its mission of finding cures for childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
One sister, Elizabeth Davis Curtis, Butler, brought to life our focus of helping scientists learn during her time as an intern with the St. Jude Pediatric Oncology Education (POE) Program. While in Memphis last summer after completing her first year of medical school, Elizabeth had the chance to study pediatric low-grade gliomas – slow growing brain tumors – with Dr. Zsila Sadighi, Texas A&M. They examined how a delayed diagnosis of a child’s brain tumor might impact their future neurological functioning, such as speech, facial expression, eye movement and ability to walk.
Not only did Elizabeth gain an incredible educational experience and contribute to pediatric oncology research and treatment, but she had the chance to do so with a career mentor and fellow Tri Delta sister.
Elizabeth first heard Dr. Zsila Sadighi speak at St. Jude – Tri Delta Leadership Weekend in 2013 when she became philanthropy chair for her collegiate chapter. Inspired by Zsila’s professionalism, experience and involvement with Tri Delta, Elizabeth reached out to establish a connection. “We share in the bonds of sisterhood,” said Elizabeth, reflecting on her relationship with Dr. Sadighi as it has grown – personally and professionally – throughout the past few years. Elizabeth added, “Before Tri Delta, I never would have been so brave as to email a doctor to ask about shadowing and research opportunities, but knowing Dr. Sadighi was a fellow sister and seeing how much she loved our organization, I outreached and have since gained so much.”
Elizabeth has always wanted to be a doctor, and was drawn to Tri Delta in recruitment because of our philanthropic focus on children’s cancer charities and partnership with St. Jude. Her time as a collegiate member inspired her passion for pediatric oncology and provided opportunities for personal growth. “As a Tri Delta member and officer, and in serving on Panhellenic Council, I was part of and had to lead committees and work with higher leadership where I learned important skills. I never considered how the time I spent in chapter, at meetings or interacting with others was preparing me for the workforce and future professional endeavors.” And as an alumna member, Elizabeth is comforted to know Tri Delta’s network of over 229,000 women is there to support and inspire her through every stage and phase of life.
Elizabeth is currently finishing up her second year of medical school, and looks forward to the next two years of hands-on clinical rotations, working alongside doctors in the hospital setting. During this time, she hopes to return to St. Jude for an elective clinical rotation at the hospital.
To those sisters who are working so hard to chase their dreams and seek opportunities, Elizabeth shares, “Know that as a sorority woman, you are qualified beyond measure. You are competitive as an applicant in whatever field or job you search for, and you can do anything you set your mind to. The things you’re doing in college and in your chapter are amazing leadership experiences that will add to your abilities and make you a great professional.”
For those interested in pursuing the St. Jude POE Program, Elizabeth encourages sisters to apply, reflecting that her experience was an incredible opportunity to learn and “see Tri Delta’s impact come to life” at St. Jude. If you would like to learn more, feel free to contact Executive Office.