Commencement Profile - Manroop “Mandy” Kaur

Kimberly A. Nichols, MLA
Kimberly A. Nichols, MLA
Resilience, Perseverance and Grit

Manroop “Mandy” Kaur in Her Commencement Regalia
Manroop “Mandy” Kaur in Her Commencement Regalia
Manroop “Mandy” Kaur credits resilience, perseverance and grit as reasons why she first got into medical school at the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and then later matched at Yale New Haven Hospital, one of the premier residency programs in the nation for diagnostic radiology.

For Kaur, matching to her preferred residency program makes the accomplishment even more rewarding; in her undergraduate program, she worked hard to have a competitive GPA and overall application. 

“I had a rough academic start as a freshman in college, resulting in a low GPA,” Kaur said. “At that time, it made me feel like I wasn’t going get into medical school. I had my setback, and I put in a lot of hard work the next three years to get my GPA back up to a competitive level. What I learned from that experience was that you just have to have resilience and grit,” Kaur said.

Like many other applicants, she was initially denied admission to medical school. The college typically receives more than 6,000 applications for a cohort of 100 students. The college will welcome the first cohort of 120 students in July 2021.

“I was a re-applicant to UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. It was challenging, but medicine is what I've always wanted to do.”

She also believes being a well-rounded person of good character, having an interesting applicant story and participating in community service activities ultimately contributed to her admissions success.

“I think that medical schools are becoming more holistic, and they want candidates who are compassionate, empathetic individuals. Don't give up on your dream because of obstacles, whatever they may be for you.”

Kaur was clear-eyed about her journey to get into medical school and absolutely would not be deterred from her dream of becoming a physician. Originally born in India, her parents emigrated to the United States. They first lived in Chicago, before moving to Arizona 20 years ago.

“It's really important to follow your dreams and to make sure the people around you know what your goals are, so they can do their best to support you,” Kaur said. She counts her immediate family as huge supporters, along with her mentors, Eric vanSonnenberg, MD and Kevin Hirsch, MD.

Kaur defines grit as the ability to achieve a long-term goal. “I think that grit is really important in medicine. Students should realize failure should not be the reason that you give up on a dream of becoming a doctor; and that failure is an inevitable part of life and, many times, medicine; but how you overcome it is what matters.”

She intends to practice in Arizona when she completes residency and is looking forward to continuing her training in Connecticut.

“I'm very excited about moving to New Haven. I think it will be a very different cultural experience. One of the things I'm looking forward to is making decisions that directly impact patient care, including directly interacting with them and providing a team-based approach to their care,” Kaur said.

Diagnostic radiology is Kaur’s dream specialty. She was introduced to the subspecialty of interventional radiology during her pediatric rotation when she worked with some of the patients.

“Diagnostic radiology was really just the perfect mix of my passion for anatomy, lifelong learning and solving a puzzle. Add image-guided procedures and it all came together for me in diagnostic/interventional radiology,” Kaur said.

Her long-term goal is to raise student awareness about diagnostic and interventional radiology as a career option earlier in medical school. She collaborated with her mentors to facilitate additional awareness about the field. 

“I reached out to Dr. vanSonnenberg during my third year for advice toward my path to radiology, and he was incredibly instrumental in providing research, as well as connecting me with some incredible people in radiology nationally. I brought an idea to him about hosting a National Radiology Symposium, which he fully supported me through, and his perspective and guidance made it possible and successful,” Kaur said.

In addition, Kaur worked directly with her mentor Dr. Hirsch, chair of the Departments of Radiology at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix and the college.

“I worked with him during my interventional radiology elective, and he continued to be my mentor throughout the residency process. I have learned so much from Dr. Hirsch over the last few years, and he really has inspired me to pursue my dreams,” Kaur said.

She is eager to begin her residency, which will include one preliminary year in surgery at Banner – University Medical Center Phoenix, followed by four years at Yale New Haven Hospital.

“It’s also important to be at a place where you are happy. I think the reason I was able to match where I did is that I was happy at UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix and felt supported by our incredible faculty. That just elevated my work ethic and made me want to be at school, at rotations and be enthusiastic,” she said.

“I had a really great time doing it, and four years just flew by. I’ve had a lot of emotions that are still kind of sinking in that we are all going to be doctors in a couple of weeks. We will see how the rest of the journey goes, but so far, it's been great.”

About the College

Founded in 2007, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. By cultivating collaborative research locally and globally, the college accelerates discovery in a number of critical areas — including cancer, stroke, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular disease. Championed as a student-centric campus, the college has graduated 669 physicians, all of whom received exceptional training from nine clinical partners and more than 2,600 diverse faculty members. As the anchor to the Phoenix Bioscience Core, which is projected to have an economic impact of $3.1 billion by 2025, the college prides itself on engaging with the community, fostering education, inclusion, access and advocacy.