Carmen’s Dance

Luck is when opportunity meets preparation.

In 2009 because of her excellent academic performance Carmen was one of two students selected to attend a national conference at her Costa Rica medical school. A problem arose. The translator for the American presenter, then chair of psychiatry at the University of Virginia, had failed to show. The conference organizer, whom Carmen knew well, asked her to step in because he knew she was bilingual. 

Prior to the conference, she mentioned to the presenter her interest in psychiatry, and he suggested that she do an externship, a month long clinical experience, at Virginia.

She did, and after her successful externship she was easily accepted for a resident position there, became chief resident during her 4th year, and was subsequently delighted to be accepted for a post-residency fellowship at Yale.

Her mother believed it was Mano de Dios, the Hand of God, that provided the opportunity to meet the Virginia chair. Perhaps. The result was produced in great part by Carmen’s excellent academic work and her ability to speak flawless English. But what stopped the translator from coming? She did not know.  She was ready. Luck favored her prepared mind.



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