Ginger Dragon contributes her success to being a mother, saying it made her incredibly focused and forced her to become more detail oriented: both important traits to have on her journey to becoming a doctor. After graduating from Morgan Park Academy, Ginger spent a semester at Loyola before deciding it wasn’t a good fit for her. She was used to small classes and felt overwhelmed. She worked at a restaurant and nannied for 13 years before deciding she was ready to return to the classroom.

Knowing she wanted to work in the medical field, she thought pursuing a career as a pharmacist would make the most sense, considering she already felt behind after being out of school for so long. She enrolled at Truman College to compete the pre-requisites she needed to transfer, but her professors at Truman urged her to think about medical school because she would be a great doctor. At first she thought it was crazy, but the more she thought about it, the more it made sense. So her professors at Truman didn’t just support her in the classroom, they helped her figure out her true passion – to become a doctor. “They saw in me something I never thought I was capable of.”

Ginger started classes at Truman when her daughter was just 7 weeks old. “I remember having to run home between classes to feed her. But that’s what I love about CCC – most of the student body has responsibilities outside of school. I think the faculty recognizes that and works with us, supports us, and doesn’t expect that everyone is a traditional student.”

In addition to attending school full-time, raising her daughter, and getting the grades to become Truman’s salutatorian, Ginger was also president of the science club, and part of the Phi Beta Kappa honors society and the environmental club, and a STEM Scholar. She has now transferred to Northeastern University and is studying biology, but is waiting to hear if she has been accepted to Northwestern University.

Her advice for CCC students is “Get to know your professors. At Truman, professors are not just interested in your academic well-being – they are interested in the whole person. And take advantage of every resource – there is always help available. Be an advocate for yourself.”

Ginger knows this first-hand, saying that she’s had a lot of influential science professors at Truman. However, one who stands out the most is Leah Paige, her Chemistry professor. “Professor Paige stands out because she was my first professor, in my first class, on my first day at Truman. I was never a good science student in high school, so the thought of coming back and taking science classes was overwhelming. Her approach and the way she explained things just made things click for me – and it provided such a good foundation to catapult my further into the sciences.”

As she gets ready to graduate on May 5th, Ginger is excited to celebrate everyone’s success, and to see her professors to thank them. “Truman was never just a school to me, it was a family.”

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