Emilee- Einstein Medical School, Bronx, New York

When I was thinking about our mask, the prompt we were given was that we wanted to represent something on our face that show something about you and shares that thing with whoever is looking at the mask. So, in trying to see what are parts of me that I wanted to share, I thought about three different things.

First, I thought about my heritage and my culture. So, you are from Kenya, and you put that Kenyan flag on it. I am from the United States. I was born in America, but my parents are from China, and I was raised in a Chinese household. I learned Chinese before I learned English. And so I have a lot of family traditions that are grounded in my Chinese heritage. So, what I did across the mask, is I took red envelopes which are envelopes that you received during holidays in China, especially Chinese New Year. And the adults will fill the envelopes with money and give them to the children. And it’s always a really happy time because you’re really excited to see what you get in the envelopes.

So, I took some old red envelopes that I had, and I cut them up, and I put them in sort of an abstract design across my face to sort of show, you can sort of see that they’re above the rest of the mask. So, like if you peel away the layers, I still am Chinese, and I look Chinese on the outside, but I am also American. So, it’s not like all of me. And it’s also rounded on one side and sort of angular on the other side just to kind of give diversity and show like different sides of you. So, there’s like a softer side and a more like angular side.

And then besides my culture and heritage, I also thought about where I was raised. So, I was born in Tucson Arizona, which is part of the US in a desert. It’s really hot there, kind of like here. It’s very hot. And so I put some little cacti, they’re saguaros, you can’t really tell from afar, but they’re really small little saguaros here. And then I also have these mountains here because I was born in Arizona, but I mostly grew up in Virginia in the Blue Ridge Mountains. And so I think of mountains like you do, as my home.
And then between are these little symbols. That’s actually just the symbol of the town of Blacksburg where I live. It represents the nine beginning square miles I think, or maybe nine square blocks that started the town. And then besides where I grew up and my heritage I also thought about things that I did in my daily life that I really liked doing and spending time doing, my hobbies. So, I have a cross, a music staff; it’s sort of an abstraction of a staff with some notes on it because music was a really big part of my life and continues to be a really big part of my life.

And then finally over here, I have just sort of a design because I care a lot about the arts and even though now I’m in medical school, I’m trying to constantly be aware of how to keep art in my life and keep aiming for the intersections of medicine and humanity, and medicine and the arts. So, there’s just sort of like a little art design on the side. In the end, these two spaces are just left empty because I hope to fill them with other things that will define me later.