Kiersten's notable achievements began at just 13 years old when she began sponsoring a young boy from Guatemala with money she earned working as a junior counselor. She continued to sponsor him so that he could receive an education and medical care until he aged out of the program when he turned 19. Then, when Kiersten was a 17 years old high school student at Council Rock South, she used her own money to go on a mission trip to Africa for two months. Instead of spending the summer before college partying with friends or at the beach, she lived in a tent with no running water or amenities to help provide care to AIDS orphans. All of her volunteering and mission trips prompted her to study to become a physician assistant (PA) so she could provide medical care to her community as well as abroad.
Even when Kiersten's health declined through college due to complications with Postural Tachycardia Syndrome, she remained focused on her goal, working and volunteering and ultimately graduating with a masters degree in medical science at the young age of 23. She immediately began working as a PA in cardiac surgery at a hospital in Northeast Philadelphia where she continues to work today saving lives.
In addition to working in the hospital, Kiersten often travels to third world countries to provide medical care to people without access. She's involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Bucks County and the Network of Victim Assistance (NOVA).
Kiersten's vision of a better world is a true inspiration and makes her one of the Top 10 Mover & Shakers of Bucks County. We were lucky to get the chance to ask her a few questions:
BH: Congrats on being named one of Bucks County's Top 10 Movers & Shakers! What would you say motivates you every morning?
KB: The opportunity to make someone's day a bit easier. I work with critically ill patients and they, along with their families, and the hospital staff, motivate me every morning.
BH: When you're not working at your job or participating in one of your many volunteer activities, what’s your idea of a perfect day?
KB: Ideally, a day spent relaxing with family, friends, and my dog Wesley!
BH: Who do you look up to?
I look up to Paul Farmer, a physician who founded Partners in Health (PIH) which is an organization that strives to provide first world medicine to third world countries. Dr. Farmer managed to finish medical school while spending a lot of time providing medical care in Haiti. PIH runs a free hospital in Haiti and now supports programs in Rwanda, Malawi, Peru, Russia, and Lesotho.
BH: How did you decide to choose the medical field?
KB: I always had in interest in the science of medicine, but when I was 15 I began volunteering at a pediatric emergency room in Philadelphia, and I truly got to see how medicine saves lives. From then on, I knew I had to be a part of that.
KB: I am proud to have provided medical care to those in need in third world countries, as well as made time to volunteer in the community.
BH: What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to overcome?
KB: My biggest challenge was completing college and physician assistant school while battling some difficult health issues.
BH: And what is the biggest thing that you’d like to achieve over the next 5 years?
KB: I would like to go through the training to be part of the American Red Cross disaster team so that I can help out locally and nationally during disasters.
BH: How do you think your friends & coworkers would describe you?
KB: I think they would describe me as a caring person who works hard and always stays positive!
BH: Where’s your favorite location to spend time in Bucks?
KB: Just one? How about three? I love the West Ave Grille in Southampton, Blue Sage in Southampton, and Shadybrook Farm in Yardley.
BH: If you could go back in time and talk to yourself 10 years ago, what advice would you give?
KB: What would I tell myself at 17? Ignore the drama and live life happily. Always stay true to yourself and never give up on your dreams!
You can connect with Kiersten on LinkedIn.