Some of us spend a lifetime trying to figure out our calling. For others, it comes to us at a very young age. This is the abbreviated story of twin sisters Mariah and Sierra Minder who graduated from Monroe just seven years ago–2010–and their recent paths to find and follow their callings.
Mariah knew she wanted to be a doctor in the third grade. Sierra, on the other hand, has done a lot of “experimenting.”
“I was in Ms. Ward’s class,” Mariah remembers. “I had just watched the movie A Walk to Remember*, and I really wanted to know more about the main character’s illness. We went on a field trip to the public library and I started checking out all of the books I could on cancer.” *A Walk to Remember is a heartwarming story about a young girl who bravely battles cancer.
At this point in our conversation, Sierra chimes in. “She was so into cancer that I think the school faculty was scared someone in our family had been diagnosed. No one had, Mariah was just very interested in the subject.”
Mariah and Sierra both attended Gonzaga University. Sierra double-majored in psychology and political science. Mariah studied biology and had the chance to work in a lab sequencing the genomes of bacteria-infecting viruses.
It might not surprise you that Mariah went on to study medicine, she is currently in her third year of medical school at the University of Washington. Last summer, she traveled to the Uganda Cancer Institute (UCI) in Kampala through UW’s Global Health Immersion Program for 10 weeks.
“There is one cancer center in Uganda, so everyone who has cancer goes to UCI,” explains Mariah. “For a medical student, this is a great place to be.”
Sierra visited Mariah for a couple of weeks at the tail end of her stay in Uganda. Both sisters enjoyed their time there, but the experience especially touched Mariah.
“There is a lot of misinformation about cancer over there,” explains Mariah. “Part of my project was to educate Ugandan high school students about where cancer comes from. It was both educational and rewarding.”
Sierra’s post-collegiate endeavors have been a little less targeted than her sister’s.
“I’ve tried all sorts of things,” she says. Sierra coordinated former Governor Sean Parnell’s election campaign in Fairbanks. Then she worked for Conoco Phillips ‘up north’ in the oil fields for a winter.
Sierra also spent over a year in Washington, D.C. where she worked in the judicial and economic policy portfolios for Senator Dan Sullivan.
“I enjoyed my time in D.C.,” says Sierra, “but I felt called to try a path outside of politics.”
After receiving financial assistance from Gonzaga’s School of Law, Sierra moved back to Spokane and started law school last fall. She says the best part is getting to hang out with her little brother John (Monroe class of 2014) who is studying engineering at Gonzaga.
“I’m not sure where law school will take me, but I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be,” Sierra says optimistically.
Mariah recently completed her surgery rotation in Seattle and is off to Boise next for family medicine.
You might be wondering about love. “We’re too busy for that right now,” they chuckle.
Both Sierra and Mariah know one thing for certain: their education at Monroe prepared them for whatever lies ahead.