49 Voices: Alexandria McLearen of Anchorage

Alexandria McLearen of Anchorage (Photo by Wesley Early, Alaska Public Media – Anchorage)

This week we’re hearing from Alexandria McLearen in Anchorage. On Sunday, McLearen will give the UAA commencement speech for the Fall 2017 ceremony, and hopes to someday become a doctor.

Listen now

MCLEAREN: I studied science. I was a natural sciences major, I guess I still am. In my second year, I picked up minors in Alaska Native studies and psychology, because… you know, I want to be a doctor, and I want to be a doctor in Alaska. So to me, that made a lot of sense.

My grandma was from Chevak, so that makes me a quarter Cupik. And I grew up with her, and grew up in this context of taking care of your own, taking care of your family. I was six years old when my grandma told me that I was gonna be a doctor and I was like, “Yeah. You’re probably right.”

Being a doctor in Alaska, for me, means taking care of the people that raised me. And taking care of the people that provided a life for me that was full of opportunities. And so, to me it makes sense to be there for them, as well.

So my speech, I hope my classmates like it, but it’s not really for them. I talk about failure. I make mistakes, but I keep going. Even when I’m not sure that this is something that I can do, I pursue it. And I either flop or I thrive, and most of the time I thrive.

I want to be a travelling doctor. I want to help the villages. I want to go there and learn their strengths, learn their weaknesses and help provide a better health care system. So that’s like this big overarching goal of becoming a doctor for me.