Education

She dreamed of becoming a doctor, but fell off the path. Now, her hospital ID awaits.

Dr. Samantha Williams and her son, Isaiah, at her graduation from the American  University of Antigua College of Medicine.
Dr. Samantha Williams and her son, Isaiah, at her graduation from the American University of Antigua College of Medicine.

Samantha Williams has taken some unexpected turns in her life.

She was born in New Jersey, raised in New York, then moved to Florida when she was 12.

While attending Florida Atlantic University, she became distracted. And then she couldn't get into medical school in the U.S.

"I tried to change my major on several occasions, but I couldn't find anything I loved," she said. "Being a doctor has always been something I was really interested in."

Everything had to wait. Meanwhile, the Pembroke Pines woman ended up biding time by waitressing at Outback.

Williams never lost her dream of becoming a doctor.

Eventually, her friend Dianne McLeod encouraged her to apply for medical school in Antigua. Then, another twist.

When Williams was accepted to the American University of Antigua College of Medicine, she found out that she was pregnant.

That didn't stop her. She took her infant, Isaiah, with her to Antigua because it would pay off for both of them in the future.

"I didn't want coming to school to change the way I raised my son," Williams said.

Even though money was tight, Williams found one of the best day cares on the island, and would even cook for her son from scratch every day, McLeod said.

"There were so many sleepless nights with tears and crying," McLeod said. "She took everything in her to be not only the best student, but the best mother."

Samantha and Baby.jpg
Samantha Williams and her son, Isaiah, at American University of Antigua College of Medicine.

In turn, Williams helped McLeod get back to her studies after she took a leave of absence.

Williams made it all work as a mother and student with the help of fellow students and family. Her mom, Philomena Michaud, visited the island several times to lend a hand.

"I told her, 'I know you can do it. I will be 100 percent behind you,'" Michaud said.

Her mom has always been there, working two jobs to help put her daughter through private school.

"She followed in my footsteps," Michaud said. "I set a good example for her."

Williams eventually became a Medical Scholar, allowing her to tutor other students and make some money. "She made it look easy, and I know it wasn't," McLeod said.

Now, with diploma in hand, Williams and her now 5-year-old son are moving to Inverness in Central Florida. She'll be working on the medical staff of Citrus Memorial Hospital.

Looking back on it all, Williams wants to be recognized as a role model for young girls.

"I am blessed to be in this position because I am a single parent and a young black woman who is breaking barriers," she said. "There are a lot of girls who don't get to see that."

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