Guest Blog

Hear from former debaters with unique perspectives on the impact debate has had on their lives and careers.
If you are interested in contributing, contact Willa Voss at willa@chicagodebateleague.org for more information.

 

October 30, 2017 Sydney Doe Whitney Young  Debate 2008-2012  Medical Student, Northwestern University

October 30, 2017
Sydney Doe

Whitney Young Debate 2008-2012
Medical Student, Northwestern University


I graduated from Northwestern University’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences in 2016 magna cum laude with a degree in Neurobiology, and am currently a second year medical student at Feinberg’s School of Medicine.

Throughout my experience in the clinical setting, I have found the skills developed through debate indispensable. Coming up with a solid differential diagnosis feels just like writing an argumentative strategy. You’ve got to ask yourself to advocate for every possible diagnosis, support your advocacies with evidence, and then weigh the best defenses of your advocacies against each other.

Perhaps most importantly, my experience with the Chicago Debate League (CDL) gave me perspective on inequality in the United States and the importance of effective advocacy for change. I spent every other weekend throughout my adolescence at a different high school – not just throughout Chicagoland, but across much of the rest of the country as well. This unique experience gave me an understanding for how I fit into my city and my country and an appreciation for the breadth of life experiences I encountered in my peers. Additionally, at every tournament, I had the opportunity to engage with these diverse students and educators about how our values interacted with policy. What I learned from these debates lit a fire under me to throw my efforts behind what I determine to be the most effective ways to make the most important changes.

As a recipient of the National Health Service Corps Scholarship, a federal scholarship for medical students committed to practicing primary care in a medically under-resourced setting, I plan on sticking around Chicago to serve the communities in which I grew up. Currently, I am working on a research project exploring the realities of Menstrual Hygiene Management in Chicago Public Schools, and recently presented my progress at the UNICEF Water & Health Conference at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. On Tuesdays, I organize “Calls for Change” lunch break events during which medical students make phone calls to their elected representatives in a focused, friendly environment (with pizza!).

Although medical school has my schedule pretty tied up at the moment, I hope to continue volunteering for and supporting the CDL throughout my career. Because quite bluntly, I would not be where I am today without my experiences in the CDL.

In my (limited) free time, I enjoy biking with my boyfriend (a faithful CDL volunteer) by the lake and eating delicious vegan junk food.