Stephany Mazur knew she wanted to be a doctor since her childhood. “I was always told that I was exceptionally kind and helpful for my age,” Mazur explained. “In my young mind, that meant I should become Dr. Stephany when I grew up, since that seemed like a nice way to help people.”
Many of Mazur’s experiences at Notre Dame and home have fueled her passion to become a medical professional. When she is home from school, she works full-time to provide care for three medically fragile children. She makes their meals, monitors bath-time, plays outside, and helps them with school work. She also ensures that they take their medication and keeps track of their medical equipment. With all her activities and interactions with the boys, she integrates practice for working on their various speech, attention and behavioral therapy goals. “I have learned how difficult life is for families that face on-going medical challenges. Working with these boys with special needs has been a major motivator for both my volunteer and research interests,” Mazur said.
She became a life skills training coach through an autism course she took at Notre Dame. This experience was her first exposure to autism and developed her interest in a medical career that would work with individuals with developmental disabilities. “This experience taught me to be both a teacher and a student simultaneously. The child I worked with taught me about autism first hand, and showed me what he needed from me,” she said.
Mazur’s impressive resume is truly reflective of her goal of becoming a doctor. She has volunteered as a Spanish translator at Chicago CURE, an event that provides free medical, dental and vision care to people who otherwise could not afford it. She currently works as a research assistant in the F.U.N. (For Understanding Neurodevelopment) lab administering diagnostic autism tests and analyzing the results. She volunteers at Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where she has worked in the surgery waiting room updating patients’ family and friends, and currently serves in the Pediatric Unit, spending time with young patients who are alone in the hospital.
Mazur plans to become a developmental pediatrician and do clinical research, so that she can help improve diagnostic techniques, treatment methods and patient care. “My ultimate goal is to bring as much joy and simplicity as I can to the lives of my patients,” she said.