Born in Haiti, the Class of 2021’s Medjine Jarbath moved with her family to Florida when she was 9 years old. Her mother, an OB-GYN whose medical credentials didn’t transfer to the U.S., gave up her career to provide her children with a new start. Jarbath didn’t let her mother’s sacrifice go to waste. The recipient of the A. Jarrell Raper Memorial Scholarship and a Dean’s Scholarship, she dreams of following in her mother’s footsteps and specialty. “My hope is to travel for a month each year and teach inhabitants of other countries how to perform gynecological surgeries. I have this image of being in the operating room with my mom in Haiti. That’s something that motivates me to keep pushing to do international work.”
In her own words:
Receiving scholarships helped me choose VCU for medical school. Deciding between VCU and going to a historically black college, where I would relate more to my peers but where I hadn’t been offered any scholarship support at the time, was tough. But it was a relief knowing that I would have some help to pay for tuition and that when I graduated from medical school, I wouldn’t have as much debt. It has truly been such a blessing.
Another factor that influenced me was completing my graduate certificate program on the MCV Campus. I got to know some of the instructors who teach in the School of Medicine. When I started medical school, I became close with other African American and minority students. I’ve met so many amazing people and I wouldn’t trade that for the world.
The first time I met my scholarship donors — Mr. and Mrs. Litchfield and the Raper family — was at the MCV Campus Scholarship Brunch in 2018. Afterward, we all kept in touch and Mrs. Litchfield invited me to her home near Richmond to meet the rest of her family. She said I could visit anytime I needed a break from the city, and I’ve been out there a handful of times. She’ll show me her garden and tell stories. Sometimes, I’ll even play her piano. One time we made spoonbread together — she had told me about the recipe passed down through generations. It’s nice to get away and spend time with people who care about you. I don’t see them as scholarship donors; I just see them as being my family in Virginia. Of course, I’m very grateful for the financial support they’ve given me. But my relationship with them is even more meaningful now and continues to blossom.