Name: Shakira Wanda Burton
Profession: Medical Student (future surgeon)
what area of the BX are you from?: Co-op City
current location: Philadelphia, PA
Shakira was actually the initial inspiration behind this blog! She and I met at 10 years old at M.S. 180. We've also studied at the Harlem School of the Arts together and took many long trips home on the D Train and Bx28 bus! Shakira and I shared plenty of memories together, one of them being pledging DST and AKA, respectively. I am so proud of the woman she has become and of all of her amazing accomplishments thus far! Homegirl is definitely living her best life!
Tell us about yourself:
I was born and raised in Co-op City (Section 4), Bronx, NY. I attended P.S. 153 and M.S. 180. I am an alumna of the Trevor Day high school and Spelman College. Currently, I am pursuing my M.D. and will be graduating from Drexel University College of Medicine May 18, 2018. I will be relocating to Charlotte, NC to begin my general surgery residency program. Some of my passions include traveling, exercising, dancing and just spending time with my family and friends.
What are your fondest memories of growing up in the Bronx?
Some of my fondest memories of growing up in the Bronx consist of my middle school years. I loved the dance program Tiffany and I were a part of in middle school and remember our journeys on the bus and train to the Harlem School of the Arts to dance some more! After school hours were the best time, as I would make my way to Bartow Mall shopping center (against my mothers permission) to stock up on candy/chips and visit my favorite pizza shop. I can’t forget about summer time in the Bronx, playing double-dutch in the front of my building with my friends while waiting for Mr. Softee to pull up!
Do you feel as though being from the Bronx has heavily influenced who you are today?
Being from the Bronx, NY was definitely impactful and influential. As a young student, I was afforded opportunities to participate in both educational and cultural enrichment programs within our borough. My family and I are charter members of the Bronx Chapter of Jack & Jill, Inc., which added to my exposure of the wonderful opportunities both in and outside of the Bronx, NY. Also, you can’t deny that chicks from the Bronx have a certain irresistible swag about them. Lol. I also feel as though being raised in the Bronx provided me with a certain degree of “street smarts” that have come in handy with the various cities in which I have lived.
Who are your biggest inspirations?
My biggest inspirations are my mother and her twin sister. Both having been raised in the Bronx, NY, they are constant reminders of “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere”. My grandmother who did not complete grade school always instilled in her children to do better than she. My mom and my Aunt now each hold an Ed.D. and I will be the first physician in our entire family.
On another tip, I am actually also very inspired by Belcalis Almanzar (Cardi B.) This rap sensation has truly gone from “nothing to something” in what seems to have been overnight. Her dedication, passion and drive to be the best in this industry, a new uncharted territory for her, is exactly what I aspire to do with surgery.
What has been your greatest accomplishment to date?
Some of my greatest accomplishments thus far have been graduating from the illustrious Spelman College in 2011 where I also pledged Eta Kappa Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (OO-OOP!). I am currently in the process of completing my next biggest accomplishment, graduating from medical school and becoming a general surgeon at my #1 choice residency program. God is good!
If you could, in what ways would you give back to your community?
I truly believe our success means nothing if we cannot reach back and help others accomplish their goals. Growing up, I did not meet many (if any) physicians that looked like me. If I could give back to my community, I would educate young girls and boys on how imperative it is to follow your dreams even in areas where you are considered “the minority”, for these are the fields that need us the most! I want to encourage our youth to pursue medicine and other STEM careers and offer mentorship in anyway that I can. Representation truly matters.
If someone were visiting the Bronx, where would you tell them to go?
If one was to visit the Bronx, I would tell them to stop at the world famous Bronx Zoo, known for their groundbreaking efforts to place animals in their natural habitats. If you love nature and beautiful flowers, then visit the Botanical Gardens and experience the Spring butterfly exhibit and tulip festival. After these excursions you’re going to be famished so why not enjoy some great Italian food half a mile away in Little Italy. For all you baseball fans, make a home run to the brand new Yankee Stadium, home of the Bronx Bombers. If you love seafood, you must have dinner in City Island only a stone’s throw away from my home, Co-op City.