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Student Profile, Erin HickeyStudent Profile: Erin Hickey

Growing up in Oceanport, New Jersey, Erin Hickey lived a life of suburban, middle-class privilege. During her first two years of medical school, however, she tutored urban elementary school students at the nearby Young Scholars Kenderton Charter School.

“Temple’s very unique patient population is unlike anything I was exposed to while 

I was growing up or going to the University of Connecticut,” says Hickey, a fourth-year student who wants to become an urban pediatrician. “I wanted to be in an environment where I could learn just as much from my patients as I could from the physicians.”

So, through the Big Friends campus organization, two afternoons a week she worked with fourth- and fifth-graders. “Once they started trusting us, they opened up more about their personal lives. For the first time I really understood how different these children’s lives—and by extension the lives of the hospital’s patients—are from my own, such as having a parent incarcerated or witnessing a gunfight.

“I felt like I was able to able to make some positive changes in their lives—nothing drastic, just forming relationships with them based on morals and principles and encouraging them to continue their education and adopt healthy habits.”