Laura Hurley
Resident, United Family Medicine Residency Program, St. Paul, Minnesota
Laura Hurley

Future Family Physician

A two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete in softball and a member of the Honors Program, Laura served as a research assistant for a Mayo Clinic physician and took advantage of cross-cultural experiences in Nebraska, Nicaragua and Ecuador. After graduation, she moved to Chicago and earned an M.D. at Rush Medical College and a Master of Public Health degree at Northwestern University. While in med school, she was active in the Illinois Academy of Family Physicians, receiving that organization's President's Award.

What have you enjoyed about your residency program?
Each week has truly brought new and interesting experiences. Most recently, I have enjoyed getting to know patients through prenatal care and being at their deliveries. I have also thoroughly enjoyed learning from the other residents and faculty within the program. Not unlike Northwestern, the residency program is very community-oriented, and as a result, has provided a great opportunity to learn about the professional strengths and personal interests of residents and faculty.

What are your career goals?
I look forward to working as a family physician, including obstetrical care and deliveries within my practice. With my public health background, I hope to extend my role outside the clinic space to impact the well-being of community members through local partnerships and advocacy.

How well did Northwestern prepare you for medical school?
Northwestern prepared me well academically and as a well-rounded person. The intangible skills I learned through my education were crucial, allowing me to be a self-sufficient learner, critical thinker and creative problem-solver. Perhaps more importantly, from my NWC education I gained a strong appreciation for community and connection with others, prioritizing the well-being of the whole person and learning from others rather than imposing judgment. These qualities have proved invaluable in earning the trust of patients while developing a patient-provider relationship.

What have you come to value about your Northwestern experience?
I cannot understate the impact key mentors at Northwestern had and continue to have on my career path and personal development. They invested time and interest in me, listened to my passions and helped me integrate these into meaningful career goals that have continued to grow since my years at NWC. In addition, the experience of playing for the Red Raider softball team was influential. It provided lifelong friendships that encourage me throughout each step of my training and cemented skills such as communication, collaboration and work ethic, which have been necessary in my career. 

You were the very rare triple major. What led you to major in biology, Spanish and mathematics?
Coming into Northwestern, I was fascinated by the intricacies of the human body; however, majoring in biology alone didn’t fully capture all of my interests. Through the encouragement of key individuals, I considered further studies in mathematics and Spanish. My studies in mathematics provided an introduction to key public health pillars while promoting critical analysis and creative thinking. Studying Spanish language and culture provided a humbling experience, rich perspective and wonderful relationships. With this background, I’m confident in my pursuit of a career at the intersection of medicine and public health.

What did you most appreciate about Northwestern’s faculty?
I found faculty members whose support, genuine interest in my journey and excitement for my success made my education such a positive experience. My interactions with them encouraged my pursuit of public health as a part of my career and prepared me for my semester in Quito, Ecuador, where I fully appreciated what it meant to be accepted as the outsider. These professors continued to encourage me during my transition to medical school and while pursuing my career.

What are some of Northwestern’s strengths?
From staff and faculty to fellow students and the larger community, it was the people of Northwestern who shaped my undergraduate experience. Staff went out of their way to talk with me about my softball games. Faculty provided additional academic assistance outside of class and invited students to their houses to enjoy delicious home-cooked meals. The Orange City community accepted college students well.